Original Research

Employees’ knowledge and practices on occupational exposure to tuberculosis at specialised tuberculosis hospitals in South Africa

Lusanda Ndlebe, Maggie Williams, Wilma ten Ham-Baloyi, Danie Venter
Curationis | Vol 43, No 1 | a2039 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v43i1.2039 | © 2020 Lusanda Ndlebe, Maggie Williams, Wilma ten Ham-Baloyi, Danie Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2018 | Published: 01 April 2020

About the author(s)

Lusanda Ndlebe, Department of Nursing Science, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Maggie Williams, Department of Nursing Science, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Wilma ten Ham-Baloyi, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Danie Venter, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: To prevent the spread of infection of tuberculosis (TB), sufficient knowledge and safe practices regarding occupational exposure are crucial for all employees working in TB hospitals.

Objectives: To explore and describe the knowledge and practices of employees working in three specialised TB hospitals in Nelson Mandela Bay, Eastern Cape, regarding occupational exposure to TB.

Methods: A quantitative, descriptive and contextual study was conducted using convenience sampling to have 181 employees at the three hospitals elected to complete the self-administered questionnaire, which was distributed in December 2016. Three scores on a scale of 0–10 were calculated per participant: knowledge, personal practice and institutional practice. Descriptive and inferential statistics were utilised.

Results: Approximately, one-third (34%) of the participants were between the ages of 36 and 45 years. Most of the participants (63%) attended high school and less than one-third (28%) had a tertiary qualification. The majority of participants (62%) had not received any clinical training. Participants displayed high scores (> 6) for knowledge (75%; mean = 6.65), personal practice (68%; mean = 6.12) and institutional practice (51%; mean = 6.15). The correlation between knowledge and personal practice was found to be non-significant (r = 0.033). An analysis of variance revealed that Knowledge is significantly related to age and education level.

Conclusion: Employees’ knowledge regarding occupational TB exposure was generally high, but they were not necessarily practicing what they knew. Further research is required regarding appropriate managerial interventions to ensure that employees’ practices improve, which should reduce the risk of occupational TB exposure.


Keywords

employees; occupational exposure; knowledge; practices; tuberculosis

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