Knowledge, Awareness and Compliance with Universal Precautions among Health Care Workers at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Jamaica

K Vaz, D McGrowder, R Alexander-Lindo, L Gordon, P Brown, R Irving


Background: Universal precautions are not well understood or implemented by health care practitioners, though crucial in the prevention and transmission of blood-borne pathogens like HIV.

Objective: To assess knowledge, awareness and compliance of universal precautions among health care workers at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Jamaica.

Method: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in September and October 2007. A 28-item self-administered questionnaire was provided to 200 health care workers including medical doctors, medical technologists, nurses and porters to assess their knowledge, awareness and practice towards universal precautions.

Results: Almost two-thirds (64.0%) of the respondents were very knowledgeable of universal precautions with significantly more females (75.4%) than males (42.9%) (p<0.0001). More nurses (90.0%), medical doctors (88.0%) and medical technologists (70%) were very knowledgeable of universal precautions (p<0.0001). More respondents (92.9%) who were employed in the health sector for 16 years and over reported high levels of awareness of universal precautions than those who were employed for less than five years (p<0.0001). 28.6% of males and only 6.2% of females reported that they do not use protective gear. More nurses reported frequent use of protective equipment followed by medical technologists and medical doctors (p<0.0001).

Conclusions: There was adequate knowledge and a fair level of awareness among medical doctors, medical technologists, and nurses towards universal precautions.


Health care workers; Knowledge; Awareness; Compliance; Universal precautions

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 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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