Prevalence and risk factors of needle stick and sharps injuries among Koidu government hospital workers, Kono district, Sierra Leone, 2019

  • Healthcare related infections
  • Injury
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Over 50% of healthcare workers (HCWs) in Africa are exposed to needlestick and sharps injuries (NSIs) with potential risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens. Although NSIs were a potential determinant of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) spread among HCWs during the 2014-2016 EVD outbreak in Sierra Leone, no assessments on implementation and outcomes of Infection and Control (IPC) practices have been undertaken. We aimed to identify risk factors for NSIs among HCWs at Koidu government hospital (KGH).
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 104/186 (56%) HCWs from February to April 2019. Data on demo- graphic characteristics, history of NSIs, hospital department assignment, training on IPC and NSIs policies, and reporting practices were collected. Descriptive and chi-square analyses were performed to identify risk factors for NSIs.
Although 69/104 (66%) HCWs reported experiencing NSIs, only 31/69 (45%) reported them to hospital authorities. Among those who experienced NSIs in the past year, 45/69 (65%) reported one to two injuries and 13/69 (9%) re- ported more than four injuries. The rate of NSIs was higher among female HCWs 42/55 (76%) than males 16/27 (59%). Injection needle pricks caused 45/69 (65%) of the NSIs and 23/69 (33%) of all NSIs occurred during sharps disposal in bio-safety containers. Although there was no significant variation among the different professional cadres, those who worked in “high-risk departments (surgery, maternity)” were more likely to report NSIs than those in “low-risk departments” (PR 2.8; 95% CI 1.1-7.09). Receiving training on IPC training reduced the likelihood of NSIs (PR 0.31; 95% CI 0.09-0.98).
The prevalence of NSIs among HCWs in KGH is high, but was significantly reduced through training on IPC. Implementation and continued support of IPC training programs focusing on sharps disposal process and targeting “high-risk departments,” is urgently needed to prevent potential transmission of bloodborne pathogens, including EVD.

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