Occupational exposure to the risk of HIV infection among surgeons at a University Teaching Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria
Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching, Enugu, Nigeria
T A Okeke Dept of Community Medicine, UNTH, Enugu Nigeria
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Aim: To determine the various factors that predispose surgeons to needlestick injuries, with a view to making recommendations for prevention and control.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the University Teaching Hospital in Enugu, between March and April 2002. The study population comprised of all 135 doctors working in the surgical department at the time of the study. Data was collected using self-administered structured questionnaire.
Results: The mean age of respondents was 32.4 years. More than half (53%) of the surgeons reported having sustained a needlestick injury in the preceeding 3 months. Majority of these injuries occured during intravenous catheterization and the most frequently reported circumstances associated with needlestick injuries were re-capping of needles. Washing with soap and water was the main method of aftercare used and it is noteworthy that none of the doctors received post-exposure prophylaxis. Less than half used double gloving as a protective measure and 13% did nothing to protect themselves. The majority (97%) incorrectly estimated the sero-conversion rate with exposure to a patient with HIV. The most popular recommendation was availability of surgical gloves followed by health education to raise the level of awareness of medical personnel.
conclusion: The high rate of needlestick injuries among surgeons in this hospital could be reduced by the introduction of a comprehensive needlestick prevention programme.