Year : 2013  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 96-101

Hand hygiene practices among doctors in a tertiary health facility in southern Nigeria

1 Department of Community Health, College of Medical Sciences, Benin, Edo, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin, Edo, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Vivian Ossaidiom Omuemu
Department of Community Health, College of Medical Sciences,University of Benin, PMB 1154, Benin, Edo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2276-7096.123579

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Background: Hand washing is a cheap and effective method of limiting the spread of health care associated infections, but compliance has been reported to be low worldwide, especially in developing countries. Objective: To determine the knowledge and practice of hand hygiene among doctors in a tertiary health facility in southern Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional, descriptive study was carried out among all cadres of doctors employed by the hospital. Data were collected using a pretested, semistructured, self-administered questionnaire as well as by direct observation of a subsample of the doctors using an observational checklist. Data analysis was done using the SPSS version 16.0 statistical package and level of significance was set at P < 0.05. Results: A total of 326 doctors participated in the study and one third of these (108) were directly observed. Less than half of the respondents had good knowledge (43.9%) and good practice (48.2%) of hand hygiene. However, on direct observation, the overall compliance rate was 16.7%. Sex and specialty of the respondents were significantly associated with knowledge but not with practice of hand hygiene. The reasons mentioned for noncompliance included: Lack of hand hygiene materials like soap and water (65.0%), forgetfulness (35.0%), too busy/insufficient time (19.3%), inconvenient location of sinks (16.9%), the use of gloves (7.1%), and skin irritation from washing agents (4.6%). Conclusion: This study revealed a very low hand hygiene compliance rate among doctors in a tertiary health facility in the southern part of Nigeria and also highlighted some of the contributory factors. It is recommended that an institution-wide hand hygiene promotion campaign be embarked upon.

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