Prevalence of and attitude towards needlestick injuries among medical practitioners in Nnewi; South Eastern Nigeria

  • CI Okafor
  • DN Onwusulu
  • CO Okafor
  • EC Ihekwoaba
  • HN Chineke
Keywords: Needlestick injuries, Medical practitioners Prevalence.

Abstract

Study Design and Objective: This study was designed to determine the prevalence of needlestick injuries among medical practitioners in
Nnewi. To determine the predisposing factors and the attitude of the doctors to this occupational hazard with a view to recommending preventive
measures and appropriate post exposure actions.
Materials and Methods: The study population was the medical practitioners in Nnewi. Data was collected using a self-administered structured
questionnaire covering 3 years period (January 2003 to December 2005).
Results: The overall prevalence of needlestick injuries in the study population was 64. 6%, surgeons had significantly higher episodes of
needlestick injuries than physicians, 89.3% and 47.1% respectively (P < 0.01). The prevalence was highest among the 45-49yrs age group (100%) and lowest among the 25 – 29yrs age group (36.4%); similarly, the
prevalence was appreciably higher among doctors that have practiced for > 10years(83.3%), than those that have practiced for less than
10years(56.9%). (P< 0.05). 53.7% of the subjects took some post exposure measures, surprisingly only 6.1% reported to the appropriate
authority and 3.7% took any form of post exposure prophylaxis.
The physicians recorded a higher percentage of correct attitude score (52.9%) than surgeons (40.5%).
Conclusion: The high prevalence of needlestick injuries and the grossly inadequate post exposure measures among medical practitioners in
Nnewi necessitate the introduction of a comprehensive needlestick enlightenment and prevention programme.
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