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AFRO-NETS> Safe injection practices awareness low in Nigeria Study

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> Safe injection practices awareness low in Nigeria Study
  • From: "A. Odutola" <chpss_abo2@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 17:15:13 -0400 (EDT)

Safe injection practices awareness low in Nigeria ? Study

Datelinehealth-Africa News Service

Health Reporter

Awareness on safe injection practices is low among Nigerian primary
healthcare workers, especially those in clinical practice who work
with needles and other sharp objects, which could aid the transmis-
sion of HIV/AIDS, a study has concluded.

The study attributed this to low professionalism and lack of clear
understanding of the principles of safe injection practices among
primary care workers.

The study titled ?Injection safety: Knowledge and Practice among
health Workers? was conducted in Jigawa State, North-Central Nigeria
by Dr. E. Kolade of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health of
the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and published in the 21st
volume, 2002 edition of the well regarded West African Journal of

Information about the knowledge and practice of injection safety
among health workers with the Department of Primary Health Care of
the State and non-governmental organizations who served as volunteers
at the national immunization programmes was obtained from a total of
125 respondents. 92 (73 percent) of the respondents were males, 17
(13.6 percent) females and 16 (12. 8 percent) did not reveal their

Most of the respondents surveyed had at least secondary school educa-
tion before their professional training, had worked for between five
and twenty years and had been involved in immunization activities

According to the report, two (1.6 percent) of the respondents were
state registered nurses; thirty three (26.4 percent) were community
health assistants; thirty eight (30.4 percent) were community health
extension workers; one (().8 percent) was a community health officer,
while forty six (36.8 percent) were voluntary post-basic workers.

Information collected included, knowledge about the risk of needle
stick injury, transmissible diseases, individuals at risk, causes of
unsafe injection practices, syringes and needles disposals, types of
syringes available and awareness of WHO/UNICEF 1997 statement on the
?bundling approach? method for injection safety during immunisation.

Other regular practices information collected included such as the
types of syringes used, post-use disposal facilities, use of protec-
tive clothing, officer(s) responsible for syringes/needle disposal,
method of syringes/needle disposal and suggestions on how to make in-
jection practices more safe.

Key findings of the report include:
(i) Knowledge of who is at risk of needle stick injury: 58 percent of
respondents believed that only children receiving injections were at
risk. Of these, thirty-six thought that health workers were not at
risk of any disease.

(ii) Knowledge of diseases that could be transmitted by needle stick
injury: 58.3 percent of respondents picked HIV and hepatitis, while
44.7 percent picked other diseases such as tuberculosis and cholera.

(iii) Knowledge of causes of unsafe injection practices: 27 percent
of respondents attributed it to inadequate syringes, 18.3 percent to
poverty, and 17.7 percent to health worker ignorance. In addition,
17.2 percent of respondents thought it was related to improper dis-
posal, 11.8 percent associated it with lack of surveillance and su-
pervision of health workers and 8 percent to negligence.

(iv) Knowledge of methods of disposal of used syringes and needles:
Less than 9% of respondents knew that auto-destruct syringes exit.
53.2 percent of respondents indicated that used syringes and needles
should be disposed by burning. 44.7 percent indicated burning and
burying while 2.2 percent indicated burying alone. Only about 50% of
respondents had facilities for disposal of needles and syringes in
their health centres.

(v) Knowledge of WHO/UNICEF statement on ?bundling approach? in vac-
cine: 38.9 percent of respondents were aware of this statement.

(vi) Knowledge on how to make injections safer: 33.7 percent of re-
spondents suggested re-training of health workers; 22 percent sug-
gested re-training and public education, 16.8 percent suggested plan-
ning, budgeting and purchasing of auto-destruct syringes; 16.5 per-
cent suggested social mobilization and advocacy while 11percent sug-
gested provision of facilities for the destruction of syringes and

Overall, the report observed that knowledge of diseases transmitted
by needle stick injury, which was expected to be high among health
workers, was indeed very low. This implied according to the report
that health workers would not take adequate precautions and conse-
quently the rate of occurrence of needle stick injuries was likely to
be high.

The report identified inadequate supply of syringes and needles as
the leading cause of reuse and also associated this practice to pov-
erty, ignorance and lack of proper disposal facilities.

?When needles and syringes are insufficient, one would be used more
than once to provide service to patients,? noted the report.

The study further stated that ?the risk associated with the spread of
HIV/AIDS through unsafe injection practices by health providers, es-
pecially during large scale immunization are present and high and
should be avoided?, adding that this could be achieved through train-
ing programmes on safe injection practices.

As few health workers knew that sustaining needle stick injury is a
risk to their personal health and all levels of primary healthcare
workers seem equally affected, the report recommended ?regular re-
training programmes for health care providers in the area of safe in-
jection practices in order to help bring down the present high level
of the risk of transmission of HIV and other diseases in the coun-

Ernest, S.K.: Injection safety: Knowledge and practice among health
workers. West African Journal of Medicine. 21(1), 2002, 70-73

A. Odutola
Centre for Health Policy & Strategic Studies
34 Town Planning Way, Ilupeju
P.O. Box 7597, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: +234-1-470-1255
Fax: +234-1-263-5285
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