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  Table of Contents  
CORRESPONDENCE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 408-409
 

Awareness about needlestick harms and health seeking behaviour among the Safai Karamcharis at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College Kangra at Tanda (Himachal Pradesh)


Department of Microbiology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra, Tanda, Himachal Pradesh, India

Date of Submission18-Sep-2014
Date of Acceptance04-May-2015
Date of Web Publication12-Aug-2016

Correspondence Address:
S Thakur
Department of Microbiology, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra, Tanda, Himachal Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.167675

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How to cite this article:
Thakur S, Thakur K, Sood A, Jaryal S C. Awareness about needlestick harms and health seeking behaviour among the Safai Karamcharis at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College Kangra at Tanda (Himachal Pradesh). Indian J Med Microbiol 2016;34:408-9

How to cite this URL:
Thakur S, Thakur K, Sood A, Jaryal S C. Awareness about needlestick harms and health seeking behaviour among the Safai Karamcharis at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College Kangra at Tanda (Himachal Pradesh). Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Aug 18];34:408-9. Available from: http://www.ijmm.org/text.asp?2016/34/3/408/167675


Dear Editor,

During the collection, handling and disposal of hospital waste, the Safai Karamcharis (SKs) encounter needle pricks or sharps injuries. Since no data on the frequency and after effects of such encounters existed in our hospital, we planned a questionnaire based survey and serological investigation in the SKs working in Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College and Hospital, Kangra at Tanda, Himachal Pradesh. We studied the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections in this group. After obtaining informed consent, questionnaire was administered to the participants. Five millilitre of blood was drawn aseptically from the participants and tested for HBs antigen, and antibodies for HCV, HIV-1 and HIV-2. We studied total 80 SKs. None had received hepatitis B vaccination in the past. History of unintentional injury with sharps or needles during work was reported by 55 (68.7%). Multiple encounters were reported by 36 (45%). Though all of them washed the injured body part with water, only few used soap to clean the part. Consultation with a doctor was sought by only 7 (12%). Most of them that is, 74 (92%) were not even aware of any post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) that can be had to prevent diseases after sharps injuries. They also showed ignorance about whom to approach for consultation after the injury.

Thirty-eight (47.5%) of them had been tested for HIV, HCV, and HBsAg earlier for some other study and were all found to be non-reactive (unpublished data). Awareness regarding HIV, HBV, and HCV as a disease acquired by sharps injury was reported by 47.5%, 5%, and 0% respectively.

Only 1 member of the study group was reactive for HBs Antigen, and none were reactive for HIV-1, HIV-2 or HCV. Our state falls under low endemicity for HIV, HBV, and HCV, which may have been the reason for the low prevalence of these infections in our study group despite frequent sharps injuries they receive.

The study was done to check the prevalence of infections and needle pricks. Based on the results of this study, we counselled the SKs to get vaccinated against hepatitis B and to consult the medical officer in casualty regarding the need of PEP against HIV whenever they get a needlestick injury again.

The same group was followed after 2 years to see the effects of the earlier study. We found that 9 SKs had taken 1-month PEP after consulting the doctors in last 2 years. Five of them were females and 8 had a needle prick while one had injury by a surgical blade. Four of them were classified as moderate exposure while 5 were mild exposures. The source was unknown in all and all were given basic regimen for 1-month. To our surprise, none of them had got vaccinated for hepatitis B. So, we counselled them again and the main reason we found was their reluctance to pay from their own pockets for the vaccine. This time we were able to initiate the process of hepatitis B vaccination as the vaccine was available in the hospital supply.

We again taught them the universal work precautions and guidelines for hospital waste disposal. We talked to their supervisors to provide them with heavy duty gloves to handle the hospital waste. Use of puncture proof containers for the sharps and needles was emphasised. We also planned follow-up training of SKs at regular intervals. The training of the interns and staff nurses is also being done in batches.




 

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