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1.  Infection Control and Practice of Standard Precautions Among Healthcare Workers in Northern Nigeria 
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) have been reported to be a serious problem in the healthcare services as they are common causes of illness and mortality among hospitalized patients including healthcare workers (HCWs). Compliance with these standard precautions has been shown to reduce the risk of exposure to blood and body fluids.
This study therefore assesses the level of knowledge and compliance with standard precautions by the various cadre of HCWs and the factors influencing compliance in hospital environment in Nasarawa State, Northern Nigeria.
Settings and Design:
Nasarawa State has a current human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) prevalence rate of 10.0%, which was higher than most states in Nigeria with a high level of illiteracy and ignorance. Majority of the people reside in the rural areas while a few are found in the towns, informal settlements with no direct access to healthcare facilities are common.
Materials and Methods:
This study is an analytical, cross-sectional study. Proportional sampling technique was used to obtain a representative sample and a structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect relevant information from the healthcare providers working in Nasarawa State from January to February 2009.
Statistical analysis used:
To describe patient characteristics, we calculated proportions and medians. For categorical variables, we compared proportions using chi-square tests. A logistic regression model was produced with infection control as outcome variable to identify associated factors.
A total of 421 HCWs were interviewed, Majority (77.9%) correctly describe universal precaution and infection control with 19.2, 19.2, and 28.0%, respectively unable to recognize vaccination, postexposure prophylaxis, and surveillance for emerging diseases as standard precaution for infection control. About 70.1% usually wear gloves before handling patients or patients’ care products, 12.6% reported wash their hand before wearing the gloves, 10.7% washed hands after removal of gloves, and 72.4% changed gloves after each patient. Only 3.3% had a sharp disposal system in their various workplaces. Majority (98.6%) of the respondents reported that the major reason for noncompliance to universal precautions is the nonavailability of the equipments. There was a statistically significant difference in the practice of standard precaution among those that were exposed to blood products and body fluid compared to those that had not been exposed in the last 6 months (χ2 = 3.96, P = 0.03), public healthcare providers when compared to private health workers (χ2 = 22.32, P = 0.001), among those working in secondary and tertiary facilities compared to primary healthcare centers (χ2 = 14.64, P = 0.001) and urban areas when compared to rural areas (χ2 = 4.06, P = 0.02). The only predictor of practice of standard precaution was exposure to blood and body fluid in the last 6 months odds ratio (OR) = 4.56 (confidence interval (CI) = 1.00-21.28).
This study implies that inadequate workers’ knowledge and environment related problems, including the lack of protective materials and other equipments and utilities required to ensure safety of HCWs is a crucial issue that need urgent attention. Institution of a surveillance system for hospital acquired infection to improve consistent use of standard precautions among health workers is recommended in Nigeria and other low income countries in Africa.
PMCID: PMC3958986  PMID: 24672178
Health workers; Infection control; Northern Nigeria; Standard precaution practice
2.  The Effects of Influenza Vaccination of Health Care Workers in Nursing Homes: Insights from a Mathematical Model 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e200.
Annual influenza vaccination of institutional health care workers (HCWs) is advised in most Western countries, but adherence to this recommendation is generally low. Although protective effects of this intervention for nursing home patients have been demonstrated in some clinical trials, the exact relationship between increased vaccine uptake among HCWs and protection of patients remains unknown owing to variations between study designs, settings, intensity of influenza seasons, and failure to control all effect modifiers. Therefore, we use a mathematical model to estimate the effects of HCW vaccination in different scenarios and to identify a herd immunity threshold in a nursing home department.
Methods and Findings
We use a stochastic individual-based model with discrete time intervals to simulate influenza virus transmission in a 30-bed long-term care nursing home department. We simulate different levels of HCW vaccine uptake and study the effect on influenza virus attack rates among patients for different institutional and seasonal scenarios. Our model reveals a robust linear relationship between the number of HCWs vaccinated and the expected number of influenza virus infections among patients. In a realistic scenario, approximately 60% of influenza virus infections among patients can be prevented when the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 to 1. A threshold for herd immunity is not detected. Due to stochastic variations, the differences in patient attack rates between departments are high and large outbreaks can occur for every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
The absence of herd immunity in nursing homes implies that vaccination of every additional HCW protects an additional fraction of patients. Because of large stochastic variations, results of small-sized clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination should be interpreted with great care. Moreover, the large variations in attack rates should be taken into account when designing future studies.
Using a mathematical model to simulate influenza transmission in nursing homes, Carline van den Dool and colleagues find that each additional staff member vaccinated further reduces the risk to patients.
Editors' Summary
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a contagious viral disease of the nose, throat, and airways. Most people recover completely from influenza within a week or two but some develop life-threatening complications such as bacterial pneumonia. As a result, influenza outbreaks kill about half a million people—mainly infants, elderly people, and chronically ill individuals—each year. To minimize influenza-related deaths, the World Health Organization recommends that vulnerable people be vaccinated against influenza every autumn. Annual vaccination is necessary because flu viruses continually make small changes to the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. This means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. To provide maximum protection against influenza, each year's vaccine contains disabled versions of the major circulating strains of influenza viruses.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most Western countries also recommend annual flu vaccination for health care workers (HCWs) in hospitals and other institutions to reduce the transmission of influenza to vulnerable patients. However, many HCWs don't get a regular flu shot, so should efforts be made to increase their rate of vaccine uptake? To answer this question, public-health experts need to know more about the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection. In particular, they need to know whether a high rate of vaccine uptake by HCWs will provide “herd immunity.” Herd immunity occurs because, when a sufficient fraction of a population is immune to a disease that passes from person to person, infected people rarely come into contact with susceptible people, which means that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people are protected from the disease. In this study, the researchers develop a mathematical model to investigate the relationship between vaccine uptake among HCWs and patient protection in a nursing home department.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict influenza virus attack rates (the number of patient infections divided by the number of patients in a nursing home department during an influenza season) at different levels of HCW vaccine uptake, the researchers develop a stochastic transmission model to simulate epidemics on a computer. This model predicts that as the HCW vaccination rate increases from 0 (no HCWs vaccinated) to 1 (all the HCWs vaccinated), the expected average influenza virus attack rate decreases at a constant rate. In the researchers' baseline scenario—a nursing home department with 30 beds where patients come into contact with other patients, HCWs, and visitors—the model predicts that about 60% of the patients who would have been infected if no HCWs had been vaccinated are protected when all the HCWs are vaccinated, and that seven HCWs would have to be vaccinated to protect one patient. This last figure does not change with increasing vaccine uptake, which indicates that there is no level of HCW vaccination that completely stops the spread of influenza among the patients; that is, there is no herd immunity. Finally, the researchers show that large influenza outbreaks can happen by chance at every level of HCW vaccine uptake.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions may depend on the specific assumptions built into the model. Therefore the researchers verified that their findings hold for a wide range of plausible assumptions. These findings have two important practical implications. First, the direct relationship between HCW vaccination and patient protection and the lack of any herd immunity suggest that any increase in HCW vaccine uptake will be beneficial to patients in nursing homes. That is, increasing the HCW vaccination rate from 80% to 90% is likely to be as important as increasing it from 10% to 20%. Second, even 100% HCW vaccination cannot guarantee that influenza outbreaks will not occasionally occur in nursing homes. Because of the large variation in attack rates, the results of small clinical trials on the effects of HCW vaccination may be inaccurate and future studies will need to be very large if they are to provide reliable estimates of the amount of protection that HCW vaccination provides to vulnerable patients.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Read the related PLoSMedicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Mark Miller
A related PLoSMedicine Research Article by Jeffrey Kwong and colleagues is also available
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on influenza vaccines (in several languages)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for patients and professionals on all aspects of influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency also provides information on influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service provides information about herd immunity, including a simple explanatory animation
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides an overview on the types of influenza
PMCID: PMC2573905  PMID: 18959470
3.  Tuberculosis among Health-Care Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e494.
The risk of transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from patients to health-care workers (HCWs) is a neglected problem in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Most health-care facilities in these countries lack resources to prevent nosocomial transmission of tuberculosis (TB).
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence on the incidence and prevalence of latent TB infection (LTBI) and disease among HCWs in LMICs, and to evaluate the impact of various preventive strategies that have been attempted. To identify relevant studies, we searched electronic databases and journals, and contacted experts in the field. We identified 42 articles, consisting of 51 studies, and extracted data on incidence, prevalence, and risk factors for LTBI and disease among HCWs. The prevalence of LTBI among HCWs was, on average, 54% (range 33% to 79%). Estimates of the annual risk of LTBI ranged from 0.5% to 14.3%, and the annual incidence of TB disease in HCWs ranged from 69 to 5,780 per 100,000. The attributable risk for TB disease in HCWs, compared to the risk in the general population, ranged from 25 to 5,361 per 100,000 per year. A higher risk of acquiring TB disease was associated with certain work locations (inpatient TB facility, laboratory, internal medicine, and emergency facilities) and occupational categories (radiology technicians, patient attendants, nurses, ward attendants, paramedics, and clinical officers).
In summary, our review demonstrates that TB is a significant occupational problem among HCWs in LMICs. Available evidence reinforces the need to design and implement simple, effective, and affordable TB infection-control programs in health-care facilities in these countries.
A systematic review demonstrates that tuberculosis is an important occupational problem among health care workers in low and middle-income countries.
Editors' Summary
One third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB). In many people, the bug causes no health problems—it remains latent. But about 10% of infected people develop active, potentially fatal TB, often in their lungs. People with active pulmonary TB readily spread the infection to other people, including health-care workers (HCWs), in small airborne droplets produced when they cough or sneeze. In high-income countries such as the US, guidelines are in place to minimize the transmission of TB in health-care facilities. Administrative controls (for example, standard treatment plans for people with suspected or confirmed TB) aim to reduce the exposure of HCWs to people with TB. Environmental controls (for example, the use of special isolation rooms) aim to prevent the spread and to reduce the concentration of infectious droplets in the air. Finally, respiratory-protection controls (for example, personal respirators for nursing staff) aim to reduce the risk of infection when exposure to M. tuberculosis is unavoidably high. Together, these three layers of control have reduced the incidence of TB in HCWs (the number who catch TB annually) in high-income countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
But what about low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where more than 90% of the world's cases of TB occur? Here, there is little money available to implement even low-cost strategies to reduce TB transmission in health-care facilities—so how important an occupational disease is TB in HCWs in these countries? In this study, the researchers have systematically reviewed published papers to find out the incidence and prevalence (how many people in a population have a specific disease) of active TB and latent TB infections (LTBIs) in HCWs in LMICs. They have also investigated whether any of the preventative strategies used in high-income countries have been shown to reduce the TB burden in HCWs in poorer countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To identify studies on TB transmission to HCWs in LMICs, the researchers searched electronic databases and journals, and also contacted experts on TB transmission. They then extracted and analyzed the relevant data on TB incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and control measures. Averaged-out over the 51 identified studies, 54% of HCWs had LTBI. In most of the studies, increasing age and duration of employment in health-care facilities, indicating a longer cumulative exposure to infection, was associated with a higher prevalence of LTBI. The same trend was seen in a subgroup of medical and nursing students. After accounting for the incidence of TB in the relevant general population, the excess incidence of TB in the different studies that was attributable to being a HCW ranged from 25 to 5,361 cases per 100, 000 people per year. In addition, a higher risk of acquiring TB was associated with working in specific locations (for example, inpatient TB facilities or diagnostic laboratories) and with specific occupations, including nurses and radiology attendants; most of the health-care facilities examined in the published studies had no specific TB infection-control programs in place.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all systematic reviews, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by some aspects of the original studies, such as how the incidence of LTBI was measured. In addition, the possibility that the researchers missed some relevant published studies, or that only studies where there was a high incidence of TB in HCWs were published, may also affect the findings of this study. Nevertheless, they suggest that TB is an important occupational disease in HCWs in LMICs and that the HCWs most at risk of TB are those exposed to the most patients with TB. Reduction of that risk should be a high priority because occupational TB leads to the loss of essential, skilled HCWs. Unfortunately, there are few data available to indicate how this should be done. Thus, the researchers conclude, well-designed field studies are urgently needed to evaluate whether the TB-control measures that have reduced TB transmission to HCWs in high-income countries will work and be affordable in LMICs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
• US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases patient fact sheet on tuberculosis
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information for patients and professionals on tuberculosis
• MedlinePlus encyclopedia entry on tuberculosis
• NHS Direct Online, from the UK National Health Service, patient information on tuberculosis
• US National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, information about tuberculosis for health-care workers
• American Lung Association information on tuberculosis and health-care workers
PMCID: PMC1716189  PMID: 17194191
4.  Knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of hospital health-care workers regarding influenza A/H1N1: a cross sectional survey 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:208.
To assess the knowledge, the attitudes, and the behaviour towards influenza A/H1N1 and the vaccination among health-care workers (HCWs).
A sample of HCWs was selected from a random sample of non-teaching public hospitals, located in the cities of Naples and Avellino (Italy), received a self-administered anonymous questionnaire including questions about socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge on modes of transmission and preventative measures, attitudes and behaviour relating to influenza A/H1N1.
Only 36.1% correctly knew the main modes of transmission, and that HCWs are a risk category and this level of knowledge was significantly higher in HCWs having received information through scientific journals. A higher perceived risk of contracting influenza A/H1N1 has been observed in the HCWs more knowledgeable, in those considering influenza A/H1N1 a serious disease, and in those working in surgical wards. Only 16.7% have received the influenza A/H1N1 vaccination and HCWs with more fear of contracting influenza A/H1N1, those considering vaccine more useful and less dangerous were more likely to receive vaccine.
Education and communication strategies for improving the level of knowledge and for the immunization uptake regarding influenza A/H1N1 HCWs are strongly needed.
PMCID: PMC4021506  PMID: 24739890
Attitudes; Behaviour; Health-care workers; Influenza A/H1N1; Knowledge
5.  Self-reported occupational exposure to HIV and factors influencing its management practice: a study of healthcare workers in Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania 
Blood borne infectious agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immune deficiency virus (HIV) constitute a major occupational hazard for healthcare workers (HCWs). To some degree it is inevitable that HCWs sustain injuries from sharp objects such as needles, scalpels and splintered bone during execution of their duties. However, in Tanzania, there is little or no information on factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of self-reported occupational exposure to HIV among HCWs and explore factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs in Tanzania.
Self-administered questionnaire was designed to gather information of healthcare workers’ occupational exposures in the past 12 months and circumstances in which these injuries occurred. Practice of managing occupational exposure was assessed by the following questions:
Nearly half of the HCWs had experienced at least one occupational injury in the past 12 months. Though most of the occupational exposures to HIV were experienced by female nurses, non-medical hospital staff received PEP more frequently than nurses and doctors. Doctors and nurses frequently encountered occupational injuries in surgery room and labor room respectively. HCWs with knowledge on the possibility of HIV transmission and those who knew whom to contact in event of occupational exposure to HIV were less likely to have poor practice of managing occupational exposure.
Needle stick injuries and splashes are common among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma hospitals. Knowledge of the risk of HIV transmission due to occupational exposure and knowing whom to contact in event of exposure predicted practice of managing the exposure. Thus provision of health education on occupational exposure may strengthen healthcare workers’ practices to manage occupational exposure.
PMCID: PMC3718638  PMID: 23866940
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers
6.  A survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices towards avian influenza in an adult population of Italy 
Several public health strategic interventions are required for effective prevention and control of avian influenza (AI) and it is necessary to create a communication plan to keep families adequately informed on how to avoid or reduce exposure. This investigation determined the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors relating to AI among an adult population in Italy.
From December 2005 to February 2006 a random sample of 1020 adults received a questionnaire about socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of transmission and prevention about AI, attitudes towards AI, behaviors regarding use of preventive measures and food-handling practices, and sources of information about AI.
A response rate of 67% was achieved. Those in higher socioeconomic classes were more likely to identify the modes of transmission and the animals' vehicles for AI. Those older, who knew the modes of transmission and the animals' vehicles for AI, and who still need information, were more likely to know that washing hands soap before and after touching raw poultry meat and using gloves is recommended to avoid spreading of AI through food. The risk of being infected was significantly higher in those from lower socioeconomic classes, if they did not know the definition of AI, if they knew that AI could be transmitted by eating and touching raw eggs and poultry foods, and if they did not need information. Compliance with the hygienic practices during handling of raw poultry meat was more likely in those who perceived to be at higher risk, who knew the hygienic practices, who knew the modes of transmission and the animals' vehicles for AI, and who received information from health professionals and scientific journals.
Respondents demonstrate no detailed understanding of AI, a greater perceived risk, and a lower compliance with precautions behaviors and health educational strategies are strongly needed.
PMCID: PMC2292195  PMID: 18366644
7.  Frequent Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii Contamination of Gloves, Gowns, and Hands of Healthcare Workers 
Multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative bacilli are important nosocomial pathogens.
To determine the incidence of transmission of MDR Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa from patients to healthcare workers (HCWs) during routine patient care.
Prospective cohort study.
Medical and surgical intensive care units.
We observed HCWs who entered the rooms of patients colonized with MDR A. baumannii or colonized with both MDR A. baumannii and MDR P. aeruginosa. We examined their hands before room entry, their disposable gloves and/or gowns upon completion of patient care, and their hands after removal of gloves and/or gowns and before hand hygiene.
Sixty-five interactions occurred with patients colonized with MDR A. baumannii and 134 with patients colonized with both MDR A. baumannii and MDR P. aeruginosa. Of 199 interactions between HCWs and patients colonized with MDR A. baumannii, 77 (38.7% [95% confidence interval {CI}, 31.9%–45.5%]) resulted in HCW contamination of gloves and/or gowns, and 9 (4.5% [95% CI, 1.6%–7.4%]) resulted in contamination of HCW hands after glove removal before hand hygiene. Of 134 interactions with patients colonized with MDR P. aeruginosa, 11 (8.2% [95% CI, 3.6%–12.9%]) resulted in HCW contamination of gloves and/or gowns, and 1 resulted in HCW contamination of hands. Independent risk factors for contamination with MDR A. baumannii were manipulation of wound dressing (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 25.9 [95% CI, 3.1–208.8]), manipulation of artificial airway (aOR, 2.1 [95% CI, 1.1–4.0]), time in room longer than 5 minutes (aOR, 4.3 [95% CI, 2.0–9.1]), being a physician or nurse practitioner (aOR, 7.4 [95% CI, 1.6–35.2]), and being a nurse (aOR, 2.3 [95% CI, 1.1–4.8]).
Gowns, gloves, and unwashed hands of HCWs were frequently contaminated with MDR A. baumannii. MDR A. baumannii appears to be more easily transmitted than MDR P. aeruginosa and perhaps more easily transmitted than previously studied methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus. This ease of transmission may help explain the emergence of MDR A. baumannii.
PMCID: PMC3010849  PMID: 20486855
8.  Healthcare workers' and parents' perceptions of measures for improving adherence to hand-hygiene 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:466.
This study was conducted to evaluate perceptions of healthcare workers (HCW) and parents regarding hand-hygiene and effectiveness of measures for increasing hand-hygiene adherence, in a children's hospital in Italy.
A cross-sectional study was performed from 5 to 13 July 2010, using two self-administered anonymous questionnaires (one for HCWs and one for parents/caregivers). The questionnaires included information regarding individual perceptions associated with hand hygiene.
We collected 139 questionnaires from HCWs and 236 questionnaires from parents. Alcohol-based handrub was reported to be available at the point of care by 95.0% of the HCWs and in the child's room by 97.0% of the parents. For both HCWs and parents, availability of alcohol-based handrub was perceived as the most useful action for improving adherence to hand hygiene (scores ≥ 6 on a 7-point Likert-type scale: 84.8% [CI95%78.0-90.1] for HCWs and 87.9% [CI95% 83.3-91.7] for parents). Parents' reminding HCWs to perform hand hygiene was perceived as the least useful action (scores ≥ 6: 48.9% [CI95% 40.5-57.3] for HCWs and 55.7% [CI95% 49.2-62.1] for parents). Factors that affected HCWs' perceptions of the effectiveness of actions for improving adherence to hand hygiene included years of practice, type of ward and previous formal training on hand hygiene. For parents, factors affecting perceptions included previous information on hand hygiene and previous hospitalizations for their child.
Investigating HCWs' and parents' perceptions of measures for improving adherence can provide useful information for implementing actions for hand-hygiene promotion in children's hospitals. In this study, HCWs' and parents' perceptions were similar; alcohol-based hand-rub availability was perceived as the most useful tool, confirming its crucial role in multimodal interventions. Poor perception of inviting parents to remind HCWs to perform hand-hygiene has been previously observed, and deserves further investigation. Information and education activities were associated with more positive perceptions regarding various improvement measures. Though the relationship between perceptions and behaviours remains to be fully determined, HCWs should participate in formal training and families should be properly informed, not only to increase knowledge but also to improve perceptions on effectiveness of actions to be implemented.
PMCID: PMC3141450  PMID: 21668982
9.  Occupational exposure to body fluids among health care workers in Georgia 
Health care workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of being infected with blood-borne pathogens.
To evaluate risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses and determine the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HCWs in Georgia.
The sample included HCWs from seven medical institutions in five cities in Georgia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on demographic, occupational and personal risk factors for blood-borne viruses. After obtaining informed consent, blood was drawn from the study participants for a seroprevalence study of HBV, HCV and HIV infections.
There were 1386 participating HCWs from a number of departments, including surgery (29%), internal medicine (19%) and intensive care (19%). Nosocomial risk events were reported by the majority of HCWs, including accidental needlestick injury (45%), cuts with contaminated instruments (38%) and blood splashes (46%). The most frequent risk for receiving a cut was related to a false move during a procedure, reassembling devices and handing devices to a colleague. The highest proportion of needlestick injuries among physicians (22%) and nurses (39%) was related to recapping of used needles. No HIV-infected HCW was identified. Prevalence of HCV infection was 5%, anti-HBc was present among 29% with 2% being HBsAg carriers.
Data from this study can be utilized in educational programs and implementation of universal safety precautions for HCWs in Georgia to help achieve similar reductions in blood-borne infection transmission to those achieved in developed countries.
PMCID: PMC3612004  PMID: 22869786
Blood-borne virus; contamination injury; developing country; needlestick
10.  Barriers to Provider-Initiated Testing and Counselling for Children in a High HIV Prevalence Setting: A Mixed Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001649.
Rashida Ferrand and colleagues combine quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate HIV prevalence among older children receiving primary care in Harare, Zimbabwe, and reasons why providers did not pursue testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
There is a substantial burden of HIV infection among older children in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of whom are diagnosed after presentation with advanced disease. We investigated the provision and uptake of provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) among children in primary health care facilities, and explored health care worker (HCW) perspectives on providing HIV testing to children.
Methods and Findings
Children aged 6 to 15 y attending six primary care clinics in Harare, Zimbabwe, were offered PITC, with guardian consent and child assent. The reasons why testing did not occur in eligible children were recorded, and factors associated with HCWs offering and children/guardians refusing HIV testing were investigated using multivariable logistic regression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinic nurses and counsellors to explore these factors. Among 2,831 eligible children, 2,151 (76%) were offered PITC, of whom 1,534 (54.2%) consented to HIV testing. The main reasons HCWs gave for not offering PITC were the perceived unsuitability of the accompanying guardian to provide consent for HIV testing on behalf of the child and lack of availability of staff or HIV testing kits. Children who were asymptomatic, older, or attending with a male or a younger guardian had significantly lower odds of being offered HIV testing. Male guardians were less likely to consent to their child being tested. 82 (5.3%) children tested HIV-positive, with 95% linking to care. Of the 940 guardians who tested with the child, 186 (19.8%) were HIV-positive.
The HIV prevalence among children tested was high, highlighting the need for PITC. For PITC to be successfully implemented, clear legislation about consent and guardianship needs to be developed, and structural issues addressed. HCWs require training on counselling children and guardians, particularly male guardians, who are less likely to engage with health care services. Increased awareness of the risk of HIV infection in asymptomatic older children is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Over 3 million children globally are estimated to be living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). While HIV infection is most commonly spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, most HIV infections among children are the result of mother-to-child HIV transmission during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. Mother-to-child transmission can be prevented by administering antiretroviral therapy to mothers with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and breast feeding, and to their newborn babies. According to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS published in 2012, 92% of pregnant women with HIV were living in sub-Saharan Africa and just under 60% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Consequently, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where most children infected with HIV live.
Why Was This Study Done?
If an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission around the time of birth is missed, diagnosis of HIV infection in a child or adolescent is likely to depend on HIV testing in health care facilities. Health care provider–initiated HIV testing and counselling (PITC) for children is important in areas where HIV infection is common because earlier diagnosis allows children to benefit from care that can prevent the development of advanced HIV disease. Even if a child or adolescent appears to be in good health, access to care and antiretroviral therapy provides a health benefit to the individual over the long term. The administration of HIV testing (and counselling) to children relies not only on health care workers (HCWs) offering HIV testing but also on parents or guardians consenting for a child to be tested. However, more than 30% of children in countries with severe HIV epidemics are AIDS orphans, and economic conditions in these countries cause many adults to migrate for work, leaving children under the care of extended families. This study aimed to investigate the reasons for acceptance and rejection of PITC in primary health care settings in Harare, Zimbabwe. By exploring HCW perspectives on providing HIV testing to children and adolescents, the study also sought to gain insight into factors that could be hindering implementation of testing procedures.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified all children aged 6 to 15 years old at six primary care clinics in Harare, who were offered HIV testing as part of routine care between 22 January and 31 May 2013. Study fieldworkers collected data on numbers of child attendances, numbers offered testing, numbers who underwent HIV testing, and reasons why HIV testing did not occur. During the study 2,831 children attending the health clinics were eligible for PITC, and just over half (1,534, 54.2%) underwent HIV testing. Eighty-two children tested HIV-positive, and nearly all of them received counselling, medication, and follow-up care. HCWs offered the test to around 75% of those eligible. The most frequent explanation given by HCWs for a diagnostic test not being offered was that the child was accompanied by a guardian not appropriate for providing consent (401 occasions, 59%); Other reasons given were a lack of available counsellors or test kits and counsellors refusing to conduct the test. The likelihood of being offered the test was lower for children not exhibiting symptoms (such as persistent skin problems), older children, or those attending with a male or a younger guardian. In addition, over 100 guardians or parents provided consent but left before the child could be tested.
The researchers also conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 clinic nurses and counsellors (two from each clinic) to explore challenges to implementation of PITC. The researchers recorded the factors associated with testing not taking place, either when offered to eligible children or when HCWs declined to offer the test. The interviewees identified the frequent absence or unavailability of parents or legal guardians as an obstacle, and showed uncertainty or misconceptions around whether testing of the guardian was mandatory (versus recommended) and whether specifically a parent (if one was living) must provide consent. The interviews also revealed HCW concerns about the availability of adequate counselling and child services, and fears that a child might experience maltreatment if he or she tested positive. HCWs also noted long waiting times and test kits being out of stock as practical hindrances to testing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Prevalence of HIV was high among the children tested, validating the need for PITC in sub-Saharan health care settings. Although 76% of eligible attendees were offered testing, the authors note that this is likely higher than in routine settings because the researchers were actively recording reasons for not offering testing and counselling, which may have encouraged heath care staff to offer PITC more often than usual. The researchers outline strategies that may improve PITC rates and testing acceptance for Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan settings. These strategies include developing clear laws and guidance concerning guardianship and proxy consent when testing older children for HIV, training HCWs around these policies, strengthening legislation to address discrimination, and increasing public awareness about HIV infection in older children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Davies and Kalk
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS publishes an annual report on the global AIDS epidemic, which provides information on progress towards eliminating new HIV infections
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The World Health Organization's website also has information about treatment for children living with HIV
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS, including stories from young people infected with HIV, are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC4035250  PMID: 24866209
11.  Knowledge of Evidence-Based Urinary Catheter Care Practice Recommendations Among Healthcare Workers in Nursing Homes 
This study assessed the knowledge of recommended urinary catheter care practices among nursing home (NH) healthcare workers (HCWs) in Southeast Michigan.
A self-administered survey.
Seven nursing homes in Southeast Michigan.
Three hundred and fifty-six healthcare workers.
An anonymous, self-administered survey of HCWs (nurses & nurse aides) in seven NHs in 2006. The survey included questions about respondent characteristics and knowledge about indications, care, and personal hygiene pertaining to urinary catheters. The association of knowledge measures with occupation (nurses vs. aides) was assessed using generalized estimating equations.
A total of 356 of 440 HCWs (81%) responded. Over 90% of HCWs were aware of measures such as cleaning around the catheter daily, glove use, and hand hygiene with catheter manipulation. They were less aware of research-proven recommendations of not disconnecting the catheter from its bag (59% nurses vs. 30% aides, P < .001), not routinely irrigating the catheter (48% nurses vs. 8% aides, P < .001), and hand hygiene even after casual contact (60% nurses vs. 69% aides, P = .07). HCWs were also unaware of recommendations regarding alcohol-based handrub (27% nurses & 32% aides with correct responses, P = .38). HCWs reported sources, both informal (such as nurse supervisors) and formal (in-services), of knowledge about catheter care.
Wide discrepancies remain between research-proven recommendations pertaining to urinary catheter care and HCWs' knowledge. Nurses and aides differ in their knowledge of recommendations against harmful practices, such as disconnecting the catheter from the bag and routinely irrigating catheters. Further research should focus on strategies to enhance dissemination of proven infection control practices in NHs.
PMCID: PMC2955179  PMID: 20662957
urinary catheter; nursing homes; translating research into practice
12.  Knowledge and attitude of healthcare workers about middle east respiratory syndrome in multispecialty hospitals of Qassim, Saudi Arabia 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1281.
With the increase in prevalence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), healthcare workers (HCWs) are at risk of acquiring and subsequently transmitting this lethal virus. In view of this, HCWs were evaluated for their knowledge of and attitude towards MERS in Saudi Arabia.
A cross sectional study was performed in two hospitals of Qassim region in Saudi Arabia. A total of 280 healthcare workers were selected to participate in this study. Knowledge and attitude were assessed by using self-administered and pretested questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were carried out to express participants’ demographic information, mean knowledge score and mean attitude score of HCWs. Inferential statistics (Mann–Whitney U test and Kruskal Wallis tests, p < 0.05) were used to examine differences between study variables. Chi squares tests were used to assess the association between study variables and attitude questions. Spearman’s rho correlation was used to identify the association between the knowledge, attitude scores.
Participants demonstrated good knowledge and positive attitude towards MERS. The mean scores of knowledge and attitude were 9.45 ± 1.69 (based on 13 knowledge questions) and 1.82 ± 0.72 (based on 7 attitude questions). The correlation between knowledge and attitude was significant (correlation coefficient: 0.12; P <0.001). HCWs were less educated about the management (42.4%), source (66%) and consequences of MERS (67.3%), while a majority of them were well aware of the hallmark symptoms (96%), precautionary measures (96%) and hygiene issues (94%). Although the majority of respondents showed positive attitude towards the use of protective measures (1.52 ± 0.84), their attitude was negative towards their active participation in infection control program (2.03 ± 0.97). Gender and experience were significantly associated with knowledge and attitude (P < 0.05).
The findings of this study showed that healthcare workers in Qassim region of Saudi Arabia have good knowledge and positive attitude towards MERS. Yet there are areas where low knowledge and negative attitude of HCWs was observed. However, studies are required to assess the knowledge and attitude of HCWs at national level so that effective interventions could be designed as surveillance and infection control measures are critical to global public health.
PMCID: PMC4300996  PMID: 25510239
13.  Seroprevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections among health students and health care workers in the Najran region, southwestern Saudi Arabia: The need for national guidelines for health students 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:577.
The objectives of the study were to study the seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among health college students (HS) and health care workers (HCWs) in the Najran Region of south-western Saudi Arabia and to study the students’ knowledge of occupational exposure to blood-borne viral infections.
A cross-sectional study of a representative sample of 300 HS and 300 HCWs was conducted.
An overall seroprevalence of HBV of 1.7% and 8.7% was found among HS and HCWs, respectively. Two-thirds of HS (66.7%, 200) and 23.3% (70) of HCWs lack anti-HBs and are susceptible to HBV infection. An overall seroprevalence of HCV of 0% and 0.3% was found among the HS and HCWs, respectively. The present study indicates poor knowledge among HS and moderate knowledge among HCWs regarding occupationally transmitted blood-borne diseases, safe injection practices, and standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood-borne infections.
It is mandatory to develop a structured program to raise awareness among HS, and current health colleges’ curricula should be upgraded to address these issues early. The HS should be considered new recruits to health services in terms of their initial screening for blood-borne infections and vaccination against HBV. The development of a novel continuing medical education and pre-employment awareness program for HCWs is recommended to address the following: blood-borne diseases transmitted occupationally, standard precautions to prevent occupationally transmitted blood borne infections, and safe injection practices.
PMCID: PMC4059075  PMID: 24912684
HBV; HCV; HCW; Health Students; Saudi Arabia
14.  Men who have sex with men sensitivity training reduces homoprejudice and increases knowledge among Kenyan healthcare providers in coastal Kenya 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2013;16(4Suppl 3):18748.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) in Africa typically receive little or no training in the healthcare needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), limiting the effectiveness and reach of population-based HIV control measures among this group. We assessed the effect of a web-based, self-directed sensitivity training on MSM for HCWs (, combined with facilitated group discussions on knowledge and homophobic attitudes among HCWs in four districts of coastal Kenya.
We trained four district “AIDS coordinators” to provide a two-day training to local HCWs working at antiretroviral therapy-providing facilities in coastal Kenya. Self-directed learning supported by group discussions focused on MSM sexual risk practices, HIV prevention and healthcare needs. Knowledge was assessed prior to training, immediately after training and three months after training. The Homophobia Scale assessed homophobic attitudes and was measured before and three months after training.
Seventy-four HCWs (68% female; 74% clinical officers or nurses; 84% working in government facilities) from 49 health facilities were trained, of whom 71 (96%) completed all measures. At baseline, few HCWs reported any prior training on MSM anal sexual practices, and most HCWs had limited knowledge of MSM sexual health needs. Homophobic attitudes were most pronounced among HCWs who were male, under 30 years of age, and working in clinical roles or government facilities. Three months after training, more HCWs had adequate knowledge compared to baseline (49% vs. 13%, McNemar's test p<0.001); this was most pronounced in those with clinical or administrative roles and in those from governmental health providers. Compared to baseline, homophobic attitudes had decreased significantly three months after training, particularly among HCWs with high homophobia scores at baseline, and there was some evidence of correlation between improvements in knowledge and reduction in homophobic sentiment.
Scaling up MSM sensitivity training for African HCWs is likely to be a timely, effective and practical means to improve relevant sexual health knowledge and reduce personal homophobic sentiment among HCWs involved in HIV prevention, testing and care in sub-Saharan Africa.
PMCID: PMC3852129  PMID: 24321111
sensitivity training; MSM behaviour; Homophobia Scale; homoprejudice; healthcare workers; Kenya
15.  Offering an American Graduate Medical HIV Course to Health Care Workers in Resource-Limited Settings via the Internet 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52663.
Western accredited medical universities can offer graduate-level academic courses to health care workers (HCWs) in resource-limited settings through the internet. It is not known whether HCWs are interested in these online courses, whether they can perform as well as matriculated students, or whether such courses are educationally or practically relevant.
Methods and Findings
In 2011, the University of Washington (UW) Schools of Medicine and Nursing offered the graduate course, “Clinical Management of HIV”, to HCWs that included a demographic survey, knowledge assessment, and course evaluation. UW faculty delivered HIV clinical topics through ten 2-hour weekly sessions from the perspectives of practicing HIV medicine in developed and developing settings. HCWs viewed lectures through Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro (Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA), and completed online homework on HIV Web Study ( and online quizzes. HCWs, who met the same passing requirements as UW students by attending 80% lectures, completing ≥90% homework, and achieving a cumulative ≥70% grade on quizzes, were awarded a certificate. 369 HCWs at 33 sites in 21 countries joined the course in 2011, a >15-fold increase since the course was first offered in 2007. The majority of HCWs came from Africa (72%), and most were physicians (41%), nurses (22%), or midlevel practitioners (20%). 298 HCWs (81%) passed all requirements and earned a certificate. In a paired analysis of pre- and post-course HIV knowledge assessments, 56% of HCWs improved their post-course score (p<0.0001) with 27% improving by at least 30%. In the course evaluation, most HCWs rated the course as excellent (53%) or very good (39%).
This online HIV course demonstrated that opening a Western graduate medical and nursing curriculum to HCWs in resource-limited settings is feasible, popular, and valuable, and may address logistic and economic barriers to the provision of high quality education in these settings.
PMCID: PMC3527561  PMID: 23285139
16.  Risk and Management of Blood-Borne Infections in Health Care Workers 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2000;13(3):385-407.
Exposure to blood-borne pathogens poses a serious risk to health care workers (HCWs). We review the risk and management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in HCWs and also discuss current methods for preventing exposures and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. In the health care setting, blood-borne pathogen transmission occurs predominantly by percutaneous or mucosal exposure of workers to the blood or body fluids of infected patients. Prospective studies of HCWs have estimated that the average risk for HIV transmission after a percutaneous exposure is approximately 0.3%, the risk of HBV transmission is 6 to 30%, and the risk of HCV transmission is approximately 1.8%. To minimize the risk of blood-borne pathogen transmission from HCWs to patients, all HCWs should adhere to standard precautions, including the appropriate use of hand washing, protective barriers, and care in the use and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments. Employers should have in place a system that includes written protocols for prompt reporting, evaluation, counseling, treatment, and follow-up of occupational exposures that may place a worker at risk of blood-borne pathogen infection. A sustained commitment to the occupational health of all HCWs will ensure maximum protection for HCWs and patients and the availability of optimal medical care for all who need it.
PMCID: PMC88939  PMID: 10885983
17.  Standard Precautions: Occupational Exposure and Behavior of Health Care Workers in Ethiopia 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14420.
Occupational exposure to blood and body fluids is a serious concern for health care workers, and presents a major risk for the transmission of infections such as HIV and hepatitis viruses. The objective of this study was to investigate occupational exposures and behavior of health care workers (HCWs) in eastern Ethiopia.
We surveyed 475 HCWs working in 10 hospitals and 20 health centers in eastern Ethiopia using a structured questionnaire with a response rate of 84.4%. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis using logistic regression were performed.
Life time risks of needle stick (30.5%; 95% CI 26.4–34.6%) and sharps injuries (25.7%; 95% CI 21.8–29.6%) were high. The one year prevalence of needle stick and sharps injury were 17.5% (95% CI 14.1–20.9%) and 13.5% (95% CI 10.4–16.6%) respectively. There was a high prevalence of life time (28.8%; 95% CI = 24.7–32.9%) and one year (20.2%; 95% CI = 16.6–23.8%) exposures to blood and body fluids. Two hundred thirteen (44.8%) HCWs reported that they were dissatisfied by the supply of infection prevention materials. HCWs had sub-optimal practices and unfavorable attitudes related to standard precautions such as needle recapping (46.9%) and discriminatory attitudes (30.5%) toward HIV/AIDS patients.
There was a high level of exposure to blood and body fluids among HCWs. We detected suboptimal practices and behavior that put both patients and HCWs at significant risk of acquiring occupational infections. Health authorities in the study area need to improve the training of HCWs and provision of infection prevention equipment. In addition, regular reporting and assessment of occupational exposures need to be implemented.
PMCID: PMC3009714  PMID: 21203449
18.  Stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS by healthcare workers at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a cross-sectional descriptive study 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14(Suppl 1):S6.
The issue of stigma is very important in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Africa since it may affect patient attendance at healthcare centres for obtaining antiretroviral (ARV) medications and regular medical check-ups. Stigmatization creates an unnecessary culture of secrecy and silence based on ignorance and fear of victimization. This study was designed to determine if there is external stigmatization of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) by health care workers (HCWs) at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, South Africa. The study investigated the impact of knowledge of HIV/AIDS by HCWs on treatment of patients, as well as the comfort level and attitude of HCWs when rendering care to PLWHA.
A descriptive cross sectional study was designed to collect data using an anonymous self-administered structured questionnaire from 334 HCWs. The study was conducted in clinical departments of a large multidisciplinary 922-bed tertiary care teaching hospital in Durban, KZN.
Overall HCWs had an above average knowledge about HIV/AIDS although some gaps in knowledge were identified. Tests of statistical significance showed that there was association between level of education and knowledge of HIV/AIDs (p ≤ 0.001); occupation and knowledge of HIV/AIDS (p ≤ 0.001); and gender and knowledge of HIV/AIDS (p = 0.004). Test for comfort level was only significant for gender, with males showing more comfort and empathy when dealing with PLWHA (p = 0.003). The study also revealed that patients were sometimes tested for HIV without informed consent before surgery, due to fear of being infected, and there was some gossiping about patients' HIV status by HCWs, thereby compromising patient confidentiality. The majority of HCWs showed a willingness to report incidents of stigmatization and discrimination to higher authorities, for better monitoring and control.
Although knowledge, attitude and comfort level of HCWs taking care of PLWHA was above average, enforcement of existing antidiscrimination laws and continuing education in medical ethics and healthcare law, would greatly improve the performance of HCWs taking care of PLWHAs. More psychological support and counselling should be provided to HCWs, to further reduce the impact of stigmatization and discrimination against PLWHA.
PMCID: PMC3878339  PMID: 24564982
HIV/AIDS; Africa; Attitude; Comfort; Discrimination; Healthcare workers; PLWHA; Stigmatization
19.  Knowledge and attitude of healthcare workers and patients on healthcare associated infections in a regional hospital in Ghana 
To assess knowledge and attitude of healthcare workers (HCWs) and patients on healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in the central regional hospital in Ghana.
The purposive random sampling method was used to administer questionnaires over a period of 6 months to HCWs and patients visiting the hospital.
A total of 210 patients and 71 HCWs were sampled. One hundred and three (53.8%) patients had some knowledge of HAIs with 52 (28.4%) being informed by a HCW compared with 63 (88.7%) of HCWs who were well informed about HAIs. Ninety-seven (46.2%) responding patient always washed their hands while 65 (31%) and 48 (22.9%) respectively sometimes or never washed their hands within or after leaving the hospital. Out of those who washed their hands, 64 (39.5%) always washed with soap while 46 (28.4%) did sometimes. This positively and significantly correlated (r=0.440, P<0.001) with knowledge on HAIs which was however insignificant in HCWs (r=0.025, P=0.835). As many as 48 (67.6%) of HCWs believed that authorities in the hospital had done little to prevent HAIs with the main reason being that the hospital was unclean. Whereas, 112 (53.3%) of patients considered the hospital clean. Twenty-seven (38%) of HCWs had had confirmed HAIs of which cholera made up 12 (16.9%) while 94 (44.8%) of patients believed they had had unconfirmed HAIs.
Although knowledge on HAIs is adequate, low compliance on preventive techniques resulting in high HAIs indicates attitudinal change is the best means of prevention.
PMCID: PMC4032042
Healthcare workers; Healthcare associated infections; Patients; Knowledge; Attitude
20.  Health-care worker engagement in HIV-related quality improvement in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 
To assess health-care worker (HCW) awareness, interest and engagement in quality improvement (QI) in HIV care sites in Tanzania.
Cross-sectional survey distributed in May 2009.
Sixteen urban HIV care sites in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1 year after the introduction of a quality management program.
Two hundred seventy-nine HCWs (direct care, clinical support staff and management).
Main Outcome Measures
HCW perceptions of care delivered, rates of engagement, knowledge and interest in QI. HCW-identified barriers to and facilitators of the delivery of quality HIV care.
Two hundred seventy-nine (73%) of 382 HCWs responded to the survey. Most (86%) felt able to meet clients’ needs. HCW-identified facilitators of quality included: teamwork (88%), staff communication (79%), positive work environment (75%) and trainings (84%). Perceived barriers included: problems in patients’ lives (73%) and too few staff or too high patient volumes (52%). Many HCWs knew about specific QI activities (52%) or had been asked for input on QI (63%), but fewer (40.5%) had participated in activities and only 20.1% were currently QI team members. Managers were more likely to report QI involvement than direct care or clinical support staff (P < 0.01). No difference in QI involvement was seen based on patient load or site type.
HCWs can provide important insights into barriers and facilitators of providing quality care and can be effectively engaged in QI activities. HCW participation in efforts to improve services will ensure that HIV/AIDS quality of care is achieved and maintained as countries strive for universal antiretroviral access.
PMCID: PMC3092691  PMID: 21441571
quality improvement; health-care workers; health-care surveys
21.  Hand Hygiene Compliance in the Intensive Care Units of a Tertiary Care Hospital 
Hand hygiene (HH) is the most important measure to prevent hospital-acquired infections but the compliance is still low.
To assess the compliance, identify factors influencing compliance and to study the knowledge, attitude and perceptions associated with HH among health care workers (HCW).
Settings and Design:
Cross-sectional study conducted in 42 bedded Medical (Pulmonary, Medicine and Stroke) intensive care units (ICU) of a tertiary care hospital.
Materials and Methods:
HCWs (doctors and nurses) were observed during routine patient care by observers posted in each ICU and their HH compliance was noted. Thereafter, questionnaire regarding knowledge, perception and attitudes toward HH was filled by each HCW.
Statistical Analysis:
Percentages and χ2 test.
The overall compliance was 43.2% (394/911 opportunities). It was 68.9% (31/45) in the intensivists, 56.3% (18/32) in attending physicians, 40.0% (28/70) in the postgraduate residents and 41.3% (301/728) in the nurses. Compliance was inversely related to activity index. Compliance for high, medium and low risk of cross-transmission was 38.8% (67/170), 43.8% (175/401) and 44.7% (152/340), respectively.
Compliance of the study group is affected by the activity index (number of opportunities they come across per hour) and professional status. The HCWs listed less knowledge, lack of motivation, increased workload as some of the factors influencing HH.
PMCID: PMC3214448  PMID: 22090677
Compliance; hand hygiene; health care workers; hospital acquired infections; intensive care unit
22.  Liquid versus gel handrub formulation: a prospective intervention study 
Critical Care  2007;11(3):R52.
Hand hygiene is one of the cornerstones of the prevention of health care-associated infection, but health care worker (HCW) compliance with good practices remains low. Alcohol-based handrub is the new standard for hand hygiene action worldwide and usually requires a system change for its successful introduction in routine care. Product acceptability by HCWs is a crucial step in this process.
We conducted a prospective intervention study to compare the impact on HCW compliance of a liquid (study phase I) versus a gel (phase II) handrub formulation of the same product during daily patient care. All staff (102 HCWs) of the medical intensive care unit participated. Compliance with hand hygiene was monitored by a single observer. Skin tolerance and product acceptability were assessed using subjective and objective scoring systems, self-report questionnaires, and biometric measurements. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between predictors and compliance with the handrub formulation as the main explanatory variable and to adjust for potential risk factors.
Overall compliance (phases I and II) with hand hygiene practices among nurses, physicians, nursing assistants, and other HCWs was 39.1%, 27.1%, 31.1%, and 13.9%, respectively (p = 0.027). Easy access to handrub improved compliance (35.3% versus 50.6%, p = 0.035). Nurse status, working on morning shifts, use of the gel formulation, and availability of the alcohol-based handrub in the HCW's pocket were independently associated with higher compliance. Immediate accessibility was the strongest predictor. Based on self-assessment, observer assessment, and the measurement of epidermal water content, the gel performed significantly better than the liquid formulation.
Facilitated access to an alcohol-based gel formulation leads to improved compliance with hand hygiene and better skin condition in HCWs.
PMCID: PMC2206398  PMID: 17477858
23.  The influence of knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs, on hand hygiene practices in nursing homes 
There are few studies that have assessed factors influencing infection control practices among health care workers (HCW) in nursing homes. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of HCWs (N = 392) in 4 nursing homes to assess whether knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions influence reported hand hygiene habits. Positive perceptions and beliefs regarding effectiveness of infection control in nursing homes were associated with reported appropriate glove use and fingernail characteristics, respectively, among HCWs. Further research on hand hygiene interventions, including targeted educational in-services should be conducted in the nursing home setting.
PMCID: PMC3319389  PMID: 18945512
24.  Prevalence of HBV and HBV vaccination coverage in health care workers of tertiary hospitals of Peshawar, Pakistan 
Virology Journal  2011;8:275.
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) may progress to serious consequences and increase dramatically beyond endemic dimensions that transmits to or from health care workers (HCWs) during routine investigation in their work places. Basic aim of this study was to canvass the safety of HCWs and determine the prevalence of HBV and its possible association with occupational and non-occupational risk factors. Hepatitis B vaccination coverage level and main barriers to vaccination were also taken in account.
A total of 824 health care workers were randomly selected from three major hospitals of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Blood samples were analyzed in Department of Zoology, Kohat University of Science and Technology Kohat, and relevant information was obtained by means of preset questionnaire. HCWs in the studied hospitals showed 2.18% prevalence of positive HBV. Nurses and technicians were more prone to occupational exposure and to HBV infection. There was significant difference between vaccinated and non-vaccinated HCWs as well as between the doctors and all other categories. Barriers to complete vaccination, in spite of good knowledge of subjects in this regard were work pressure (39.8%), negligence (38.8%) un-affordability (20.9%), and unavailability (0.5%).
Special preventive measures (universal precaution and vaccination), which are fundamental way to protect HCW against HBV infection should be adopted.
PMCID: PMC3121707  PMID: 21645287
25.  The durability of examination gloves used on intensive care units 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:226.
The use of examination gloves is part of the standard precautions to prevent medical staff from transmission of infectious agents between patients. Gloves also protect the staff from infectious agents originating from patients. Adequate protection, however, depends on intact gloves. The risk of perforation of examination gloves is thought to correlate with duration of wearing, yet, only very few prospective studies have been performed on this issue.
A total number of 1500 consecutively used pairs of examination gloves of two different brands and materials (latex and nitrile) were collected over a period of two months on two ICU’s. Used gloves were examined for micro perforations using the “water-proof-test” according to EN 455–1. Cox-regression for both glove types was used to estimate optimal changing intervals.
Only 26% of gloves were worn longer than 15 min. The total perforation rate was 10.3% with significant differences and deterioration of integrity of gloves between brands (p<0.001). Apart from the brand, “change of wound dressing” (p = 0.049) and “washing patients” (p = 0.001) were also significantly associated with an increased risk of perforation.
Medical gloves show marked differences in their durability that cannot be predicted based on the technical data routinely provided by the manufacturer. Based on the increase of micro perforations over time and the wearing behavior, recommendations for maximum wearing time of gloves should be given. Changing of gloves after 15 min could be a good compromise between feasibility and safety. HCWs should be aware of the benefits and limitations of medical gloves. To improve personal hygiene hand disinfection should be further encouraged.
PMCID: PMC3666964  PMID: 23687937
Hand hygiene; Examination gloves; Micro perforation; Glove change; Intensive care unit; Disinfection; Multi-barrier strategy

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