Determinants of occupational exposure to blood and body fluids, healthcare workers’ risk perceptions and standard precautionary practices: A hospital-based study in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


  • Biniyam Sahiledengle Gebremariyam



Background: The risk of occupational exposure to blood-borne infections is on the rise in hospital settings. The situation is worse in developing countries for a variety of reasons, such as poor working condition, excessive injection use, and poor adherence towards universal precautions. This study was undertaken to assess the determining factors of occupational exposures to blood-borne infections, as well as to describe healthcare workers’ risk perceptions and standard precautionary practices in selected hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2016 to January 2017. A total of 323 healthcare workers from four public hospitals were selected for the study using a simple random-sampling technique. Structured questions administered by an interviewer were used to collect data. Multivariable binary logistic regression was used to identify the determining factors.

Results: Healthcare workers’ lifetime and one-year prevalence of needlestick injuries were 39.0% (95% CI: 33.6-44.8) and 19.9% (95% CI: 15.2-24.5), respectively. The lifetime and one-year prevalence of blood and body fluid exposures were 42.6% (95% CI: 36.8-48.4) and 29.2% (95% CI: 23.8-34.7), respectively. Almost three out of five healthcare workers, 62.8% (95% CI: 57.0-68.9) had adequate risk perception, and 41.2% (95% CI: 35.4-46.9) adopted good standards of precautionary practice. Service year (AOR: 2.40; 95% CI:1.00-5.77) and having poor standards of precautionary practice (AOR: 2.30; 95% CI: 1.18-4.46) were the determinants of needlestick injuries.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of occupational exposure and healthcare workers’ sub-optimal practice of taking standard precautions seemed to be common. Long-term and in-service, focused, short-term training were found to be helpful in increasing awareness of the risks and reducing exposure to them. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2019;33(1):4-11]

Key words: Blood and body fluid exposure; needlestick injuries; risk perception; standard precautions; Ethiopia