Original Research

Occupational exposures and utilisation of HIV postexposure prophylaxis amongst health workers of three hospitals in Tanzania’s Lake Zone

Rogatus Kabyemera, Albino Kalolo, Geethika Fernando, Susan Bergson
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 3, No 2 | a152 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v3i2.152 | © 2015 Rogatus Kabyemera, Albino Kalolo, Geethika Fernando, Susan Bergson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2015 | Published: 12 October 2015

About the author(s)

Rogatus Kabyemera, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Bugando Medical Centre, Tanzania, United Republic of
Albino Kalolo, Department of Community Health, St. Francis University College of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania, United Republic of
Geethika Fernando, Monitoring and Evaluation, AmeriCares, United States
Susan Bergson, Monitoring and Evaluation, AmeriCares, United States


Occupational exposures predispose health workers (HWs) to a risk of HIV infection. When properly used, HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) can significantly reduce this risk. Th purpose of this study was to determine the extent and types of occupational exposures, availability of PEP guidelines, and utilisation of PEP amongst HWs. A cross-sectional mixed methods baseline study was conducted between March and May 2014 using a structured questionnaire administered to 236 HWs from Shinyanga, Sengerema and Musoma hospitals in Tanzania. Relationships between variables were determined using the chi-square test. Qualitative data was gathered during interviews with key informants and walkthrough observations in the hospital wards, and analysed using the framework method. Majority of respondents were nurses (53%), over 40 years old (61%) with more than 20 years (40%) of hospital experience. Needle stick and sharp injuries were experienced by 31% of respondents whilst 26% experienced splashes. Only 28% of splashes were reported compared to 80% and 68% of needle sticks and sharp injuries, respectively. Those who experienced needle sticks were more likely to report the incident (p < 0.001), receive testing (p < 0.003) or PEP (p = 0.005). Although 66% reported the availability of PEP guidelines, only 39% of exposed HWs received PEP. Occupational exposures are common in these hospitals. HWs under-report and suboptimally use PEP services. Health worker safety programmes should establish functional systems for reporting and adherence to PEP procedures. Future research should establish factors that determine compliance with PEP procedures.


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