Needle-Stick Injury among Health Care Workers in Hemodialysis Units in Nigeria: A Multi-Center Study

CO Amira, JO Awobusuyi


Background: Needle-stick and sharps injuries carry the risk of infection and are occupational hazards for all health care professionals involved in clinical care.

Objective: To determine the frequency and factors contributing to needle-stick injury (NSI) among health care workers of dialysis units in Lagos, Nigeria.

Methods: Data were obtained by anonymous, self-reporting questionnaire from staff of 4 hemodialysis units between October and December 2011. Information on demographics, job category and duration, details of NSI in the past, kind of activity and procedure under which the NSI occurred, if injury was reported, vaccination status of staff, and post-exposure treatment received were obtained.

Results: The study population included 38 (37.3%) doctors, 42 nurses (41.2%), 14 (13.7%) dialysis technicians and 8 (7.8%) ancillary staff. There were 39 (38.2%) males. The mean±SD age of the study population was 34.4±8.3 years. 25 (24.5%) staff had suffered NSI in the last 12 months and 41 (40.2%) in their entire working career. The most common activity leading to NSI was recapping of needles (45%), improper disposal of needles (30%), and venous cannulation and setting of drips (27.5%). NSI was significantly (p=0.016) higher among those with work experience between 6 and 10 years than others. Hollow bore needles were responsible for 82.9% of the NSIs. Only 15 (37%) respondents reported their NSI to their unit head or designated officer in order to get medical advice.

Conclusion: In Lagos, Nigeria, NSI is common among hemodialysis staff and is under-reported. Many NSIs can be prevented by adhering to the practice of universal precautions as well as education of staff on such precautionary methods.


Needle-stick injuries; Blood-borne pathogens; Health personnel; Vaccination; Infection control; Safety; Occupational exposure

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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