Sharp Injury and Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids among Health Care Workers in Health Care Centers of Eastern Ethiopia

T Alemayehu, A Worku, N Assefa


Background: Health care workers are facing certain occupational hazards because of sharp injury and exposure to human blood and body fluids as a result of handling wastes. Though much attention is paid for the protection of these workers, the number of exposures and injuries do not show a sign of decline from time to time.

Objective: To examine the occurrence of sharp injury and exposure to blood and body fluids in health care workers in health care centers in Ethiopia.

Methods: In a case-control study, a randomly selected sample of 65 health facilities with 391 cases and 429 controls were studied. Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire. Detailed analysis of exposure among the health care workers was done by logistic regression analysis with generalized estimating equations model to control correlation effects of responses within the cluster of health facilities.

Results: The number of health care workers who got sharp injury was 217 (26.5%). 296 (36.1%) had exposure to blood and body fluids. Working at Harari region (adjusted OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.75) and East Hararghea (adjusted OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.94), being male (adjusted OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.91), and a being nurse (adjusted OR 0.188, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.63) were independent risk factors of the exposure.

Conclusion: Regardless of the anticipated low self-reporting for exposure status, the number of health care workers reported having sharp injury and exposure to blood and body fluids was high. Such high exposures indicate that health care workers are at high risk of acquiring blood-borne viral infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.


Health personnel; Waste management; Health facilities; Needlestick injuries; Blood; Body fluid; Hospitals; Occupational exposure; Ethiopia

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2016.714

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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