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Glob J Health Sci. 2013 Apr 14;5(4):85-92. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v5n4p85.

Needle stick injuries--risk and preventive factors: a study among health care workers in tertiary care hospitals in Pakistan.

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  • 1Aga Khan Univeristy, Pakistan. asad.afridi@aku.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Health care workers (HCWs) are at substantial risk of acquiring blood borne infections such as HIV, Hepatitis-B and Hepatitis-C through needle stick injuries (NSIs). This study aimed to assess the proportion of NSIs and their associated factors among HCWs and also to identify the areas in which preventive efforts might be directed to protect against this occupational hazard.

METHODOLOGY:

A cross-sectional study was conducted in two tertiary care hospitals of Pakistan representing both private and public health sector. A total of 497 HCWs (doctors and nurses) were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data was collected from January to May 2008.

RESULTS:

Overall, 64% of the HCWs were exposed to at least one NSI during their career; among them 73% reported NSIs for two or more times. Factors found to be highly associated with NSIs were those practicing this occupation for more than five years (p < 0.001: OR = 5.92; 95% CI = 3.45-10.16) and working as nurse than doctor (p 0.001: OR = 2.12; 95% CI = 1.35-3.32). Having received booster dose of hepatitis B vaccine (p 0.02: OR = 1.85; 95% CI = 1.10-3.11), working in surgical specialty (p < 0.01: OR = 1.6; 95% CI = 1.09-2.51) and being a female (p 0.03: OR = 1.52; 95% CI = 1.04-2.22) were also found to be associated with NSIs. Most commonly reported reason for NSIs was injecting medicine and drawing blood (42%) followed by two-handed recapping of needle (37%). Only, 34% of study subjects were vaccinated against hepatitis B infection. Overall, HCWs had inadequate practices regarding standard precautions such as availability of gloves/protective cloths (40%) and infection control guidelines/protocols (10%) respectively in their working places.

CONCLUSION:

In addition to very high rates of NSIs, low safety practices including inadequate vaccination coverage, unavailability of infection control guidelines and other preventive facilities were reported in this study. Prevention of occupational infections among HCWs should be a priority. Formal training, by health authorities in the local area, about safe practices and availability of preventive facilities should be ensured regarding NSIs among HCWs.

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