Occupational exposure to sharp injuries among medical and dental house officers in Nigeria

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Intravenous literature: Osazuwa-Peters, N., Obarisiagbon, A., Azodo, C.C., Ehizele, A.O. and Obuekwe, O.N. (2013) Occupational exposure to sharp injuries among medical and dental house officers in Nigeria. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health. May 20th. [Epub ahead of print].

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: Sharp injuries constitute important occupational exposure in hospital environment, and perhaps the newly graduated medical and dental students, known as House Officers, in the first twelve months of their practice, are the most vulnerable of all health workers. This study was designed to examine the nature and prevalence of occupational injuries among medical and dental house officers and factors associated with reporting these injuries.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on demography, types of exposure, and barriers to official reporting of occupational injuries. One hundred and forty-four medical and dental house officers in 3 government owned hospitals in Edo State, Nigeria participated in the study, between April and May, 2010. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were performed.

RESULTS: The overall response rate was 96%. Out of all participants, 69.4% were male; 82.6% were medical house officers. Prevalence of percutaneous injury was 56.9%; where needlestick injury constituted one-third of all injuries. Mean frequency of injury was 1.86±2.24, with medicals having more injuries (p = 0.043). The ward was the most common location for the injury and 14.8% of exposures occurred as a result of lapse in concentration. At least 77.0% did not formally report their injury and perceived low injury risk was the most common reason given (51.67%).

CONCLUSION: This study shows that a substantial number of House Officers are exposed to occupational injuries and that the majority of them does not formally report these. Safer work environment may be achieved by implementing adequate educational programs tailored specifically to house officers, and policies encouraging exposure reporting should be developed.

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