Knowledge and practices regarding infection control among care-seekers in Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
Introduction: According to WHO, the risk of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) is 2-20 times higher in developing than in developed countries. While quite a number of studies have focused on the health worker, fewer have approached the subject from the care seeker perspective. Care seekers can play an extensive role in infection control (IC) and in reducing incidence of HAIs. Objective: The study assessed the level of knowledge and determined the practices of care seekers in infection control, identified existing barriers in infection control and determined facilities on the wards that enhance infection control practices. Method: Between February and March 2010, a cross sectional study on IC knowledge and practices was conducted among 384 inpatient care seekers. Structured questionnaires and KI interview guides were used for data collection. A check list for key infection control facilities was used. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 12 and statistical significance set at p<0.05 Results: Seventy six percent of respondents were female (mean age 31 years, SD=12.2). Twelve percent of the respondents had no formal education. Respondents with some education were more knowledgeable about HAIs (p=0.001). Of the 384 respondents, 258 (67.2%) had heard about HAIs and 62% were adequately knowledgeable. Sixty five percent were practicing 2 or less of the 5 standard IC measures. Staying on the ward for more than 1 week was associated with adequate IC practices (p=0.001). The major barriers to practice were inadequate knowledge, overcrowding in wards and inadequate protective gear. The medical waste bins were not clearly labelled, half of the sinks in wards had no running water and few IEC materials on IC seen Conclusion: Respondents with no formal education had inadequate knowledge about HAIs. Lack of facilities like functional sinks, alcohol based solutions, infection control personnel, labelled waste bins hindered infection control practices that this study found inadequate. There is need for more IEC material and education of care seekers about HAIs and control measures.