Knowledge and attitude of Nigerian personnel working at Federal Medical Centre in Nigeria on carbon monoxide poisoning from electrical power generators
Background: Private portable electrical power generators are common household items in Nigeria owing to inadequate electrical power provision for the public. These engines often run indoors, emitting poisonous carbon monoxide gas. Fatalities are commonly reported as a result of carbon monoxide inhalation. This study evaluated awareness of and attitudes towards the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in health personnel in a Nigerian referral hospital.
Method: The study was carried out on personnel working at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Nigeria. The respondents were interviewed using a self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire. The obtained data were collated and analysed with SPSS®, version 16.
Results: One hundred and seventy-six health workers participated, and 157 completed and returned the survey questionnaire (89.2% response rate). Of these, 95 respondents (60.5%) were informed about carbon monoxide poisoning and 62 (39.5%) were not. Moreover, 105 respondents (73.4%) had no idea of sources of carbon monoxide poisoning. Twenty-three of the 95 informed respondents (24.2%) had received information on carbon monoxide poisoning through the newspaper. Sixty-two respondents (39.5%) indicated that they preferred to run electrical generators indoors, and 89 (56.7%) could not recognise the physical properties of carbon monoxide. Potential damage by rain (72, 53.3%), and fear of theft (38, 24.8%) and destruction of the generators by children (14, 10.4%) were the supplied reasons for running generators indoors.
Conclusion: The health-related dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of operating electrical generators indoors were poorly appreciated, even by health workers. There is a need for wider public education on the subject in Nigeria, and especially in the mass media and at schools and hospitals.
Keywords: awareness, carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical power generator