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Research Papers

Occupational exposure to sharps injuries among doctors working in two Teaching Hospitals in the Southern Province

Authors:

T.B. Wimalasena ,

Ministry of Health, LK
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N.D. Liyanarachchi,

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, LK
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C.J. Wijesinghe,

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, LK
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P.V. De Silva

Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, LK
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Abstract

Introduction: Sharps injuries with contaminated instruments are a common occupational hazard among health care workers, often exposing them to life threatening blood borne infections. Management of sharps injuries poses a considerable burden on health care system, due to expensive post exposure investigations and treatment. This study was conducted to assess the incidence and post-exposure management of sharps injuries among doctors working in two teaching hospitals in Southern Province.

Methods: A hospital based, cross-sectional study was conducted among a random sample of 248 doctors working in Teaching Hospitals Karapitiya and Mahamodara. Data on exposure to sharp injuries and post-exposure management were collected using a self-administered questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS software package. Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the Ethical Review Committee, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna.

Results: The sample consisted of 42 (16.9%) consultants, 33 (13.3%) postgraduate trainees, 148 (59.7%) grade medical officers and 25 (10.1%) interns. More than one fifth (n=53, 21.5%) of the sample have sustained sharp injuries during patient care encounters during previous 6 months. Out of them, 94.3% (n=50) were needle prick injuries. Almost two thirds (n=34, 64.2%) of these sharp injuries were not notified to the infection control unit of the respective hospital. Risk assessment was done in only 68.4% of notified cases. A statistically significant association was found between exposure status and the professional category of doctors. Intern medical officers reported the highest percentage of sharps injuries, whereas the consultants were the least exposed (68% Vs. 2.4%, p<0.01).

Conclusions and recommendations: Exposure to sharp injuries is a common occurrence among doctors. Professional category is associated with risk of exposure and the current post-exposure management is highly unsatisfactory. Training on standard precautions, particularly on prevention and management of sharps injuries should be emphasized more in medical curricula. Periodic ongoing training programmes should be conducted on above practices.

Keywords: sharps injuries 
DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jrcs.v20i1.4
How to Cite: Wimalasena, T.B. et al., (2015). Occupational exposure to sharps injuries among doctors working in two Teaching Hospitals in the Southern Province. Journal of the Ruhunu Clinical Society. 20(1), pp.11–16. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jrcs.v20i1.4
Published on 01 Nov 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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