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Journal Article


Appiagyei H, Nakua EK, Donkor P, Mock C. Pan. Afr. Med. J. 2021; 39: 103.


(Copyright © 2021, African Field Epidemiology Network)






INTRODUCTION: information on occupational injuries to health care workers (HCWs) in Africa is limited. We sought to determine the prevalence of occupational injuries among HCWs at a Ghanaian hospital, determine the most common types of injuries, and assess HCWs' knowledge regarding occupational safety.

METHODS: we interviewed 246 HCWs at a government hospital regarding occupational injuries during the prior year. The sample included: nurses (77.6%), physicians (9.3%), laboratory staff (5.7%), and non-clinical staff (6.9%).

RESULTS: the 12-month prevalence of occupational injury was 29.7%. Incidence was 1.63 injuries per person-year. Leading mechanisms were needlesticks (35.4% of injuries), cuts from sharp objects (34.6%), hit by object (25.2%), and violence (24.4%). Most (62.2%) respondents had training in occupational safety. Most reported adherence to safety practices, including properly disposing sharps (86.6%) and using personal protective equipment (85.8%). However, there were gaps in knowledge. Few HCWs knew the officer in-charge for post-exposure prophylaxis (5.3%) or that there was a hospital occupational safety unit (26.4%). Many (20.8%) reported difficulty in seeking care for their injury. On multivariable analysis, correlates of injury included stress at work (aOR 2.68; 95% CI 1.26, 5.71) and being a laboratory worker (aOR 3.26; 95% CI 1.02, 10.50).

CONCLUSION: occupational injuries to HCWs were unacceptably frequent. There is, however, a solid foundation to build on. Most HCWs had training in occupational safety and many reported adherence to safety practices. Health care workers need to be better informed of existing resources. Care for injuries needs to be improved, such as by increasing capacity for post-exposure prophylaxis.

Language: en


safety; Africa; Ghana; health care worker; occupational injury


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