Knowledge and Practice of Sectors of Health-Care Workers towards Universal Precautions in Baghdad Teaching Hospital
Background: Universal precautions, as defined by centers for disease control (CDC), are a set of precautions designed to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus , hepatitis B virus , and other blood borne pathogens when providing first aid or health care .
Objectives: To measure knowledge of and practice towards universal precautions among healthcare workers (apart from doctors) in Baghdad Teaching Hospital .
Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during the period of two months from 26th of February to the end of April 2007 in Baghdad Teaching Hospital / Medical City ,Baghdad to assess the knowledge and practice of 110 health care workers towards the use of universal precautions in their daily work and to assess the effect of different factors on both knowledge and practice ( including :age , years of experience gender ,level of education ,occupation and hearing about universal precautions ) .
Results: The study showed that (52.7%) had heard about universal precautions with an overall low understanding of precautions except concerning disposal of sharp instruments, use of protective equipment and clean of spilled blood .Health workers showed difficulty to distinguish deep body fluids to which universal precautions should be applied from body secretions to which they are not applied (saliva and sweat) . Good practices were reported regarding hand washing, disposal of needles and sharps,and gloves, masks and gown usage. This study showed that hearing about universal precautions had no positive effect on knowledge as those who had heard about universal precautions had mean knowledge score of (5.9) from total score of (10) which is lower than those who never heard with mean knowledge score of (6.1) ,in contrast to practice score which was higher in those who heard about universal precautions (8.4) than those who never heard (8), from total score of (10).
Conclusion: universal precautions were not only insufficiently but also selectively understood and applied so great work should be done in form of pre- and in-service education and training programs to the staff with good supply of protective equipment to implement universal precautions on scientific and practical basis in near future.
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