Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding rabies management among animal and human health workers in Mbale District, Uganda
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Background: Rabies is a viral zoonosis, killing over 55000 people annually globally. The disease is endemic in Uganda. In the recent past Mbale District has persistently registered the highest number of suspected rabies cases in Eastern Uganda, presented as 587 animal bites in humans and 19 human deaths on average annually. The knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of health workers regarding animal bites or rabies is uncertain. Thus, a study was conducted to assess KAP regarding rabies among animal and human health workers so as to inform policy makers and provide a basis for urgent action. Methods: A cross - sectional study was conducted between December 2012 and March 2013 among 147 animal and human health workers in Mbale District. One-hundred-and thirty-one (131) human health workers (nurses, clinical officers and medical officers) and 16 animal health workers were randomly selected according to the probability proportional to size sampling technique and interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Data were entered into Epiinfo and exported to Stata for statistical analysis. Results: Of all the respondents, only 65 (44.22%) had sufficient knowledge about rabies. Three quarters (75%; 12/16)), of animal health workers, had sufficient knowledge about rabies compared to only 5340.46% (53/131 human health workers. Knowledge of rabies was influenced by availability of refresher trainings (OR: 4.57; 95%CI: 1.79-11.62) and the type of qualification (OR: 3.45; 95%CI: 1.82-6.53). About a quarter (25.17%; 37/147), of the respondents had a positive attitude towards rabies management. Among the animal health workers, 7(43.75%) had positive attitudes towards rabies management compared to 30 (22.90%) human health workers. Refresher trainings (OR: 7.86; 95%CI: 2.71-22.82) influenced attitudes towards rabies management. Nearly a half of the respondents, 73(49.66%), had limited good practices of rabies management. Respondents, with sufficient knowledge about rabies (OR=3.65; 95%CI: 1.60-8.3) were 3.65 times more likely to have positive attitude towards rabies management. Respondents with positive attitudes (OR: 2.22; 95%CI: 1.01- 4.86), were 2.22 times more likely to have good practices towards rabies management. Conclusions: Respondents had low knowledge about rabies, negative attitude towards rabies management and limited good practices of rabies management. District heads should spearhead regular refresher trainings about rabies to broaden staff knowledge and improve their attitudes and hence practices of rabies management.