Objective: To assess the knowledge, compliance and practice among healthcare workers of occupational infection control at two hospitals in Jamaica.
Methods: Employing a cross-sectional study design, medical personnel (physicians and nurses) at two hospitals in Jamaica, were studied, utilizing a structured questionnaire consisting of 14 items to collect the data.
Results: Participants considered the following fluids, not blood stained, high risk for HIV transmission: breast milk (79%), saliva (14%), urine (27%), pleural fluid (53%), CSF (55%), synovial fluid (37%), faeces (27%), peritoneal fluid (53%) and vomitus (21%). The respondents estimated the risk of transmission of infection after a needlestick injury from a patient with: HIV, mean 22.5%, HBV, 34% and HCV, 26%. Needles for drawing blood were identified as having the highest risk for transmission of infections in 63%.
The following precautions were adhered to all the time: wearing gloves (38%), not re-sheathing needles (22%), not passing needles directly to others (70%), properly disposing of sharps (86%) and regarding patients’ blood and other high risk fluid as potentially infected (62%). Post exposure, 43% indicated bleeding\squeezing the NSI site as the initial first-aid procedure, washing with soap and water (29%) and irrigating the area with water (20%).
Conclusions: Healthcare workers are aware of the risk of transmission of infection, however compliance with universal precautions was inadequate. An improvement in knowledge and practice with clear guidelines are needed and a comprehensive programme to educate HCWs regarding compliance with universal precautions is urgently required.