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Raab, Manuel; Pfadenhauer, Lisa Maria ORCID: 0000-0001-5038-8072; Millimouno, Tamba Jacques; Hoelscher, Michael; Froeschl, Guenter (2020): Knowledge, attitudes and practices towards viral haemorrhagic fevers amongst healthcare workers in urban and rural public healthcare facilities in the N'zérékoré prefecture, Guinea: a cross-sectional study. In: BMC public health 20:296
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Abstract

BACKGROUND The 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa began in Guinea's Forest region, a region now considered to be at high risk for future epidemics of viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHF). Good knowledge, attitudes and practices towards VHF amongst healthcare workers in such regions are a central pillar of infection prevention and control (IPC). To inform future training in IPC, this study assesses the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) towards VHF amongst healthcare workers in public healthcare facilities in the most populated prefecture in Forest Guinea, and compares results from urban and rural areas. METHODS In June and July 2019, we interviewed 102 healthcare workers in the main urban and rural public healthcare facilities in the N'zérékoré prefecture in Forest Guinea. We used an interviewer-administered questionnaire adapted from validated KAP surveys. RESULTS The great majority of respondents demonstrated good knowledge and favourable attitudes towards VHF. However, respondents reported some gaps in preventive practices such as VHF suspect case detection. They also reported a shortage of protective medical equipment used in everyday clinical work in both urban and rural healthcare facilities and a lack of training in IPC, especially in rural healthcare facilities. However, whether or not healthcare workers had been trained in IPC did not seem to influence their level of KAP towards VHF. CONCLUSIONS Three years after the end of the Ebola epidemic, our findings suggest that public healthcare facilities in the N'zérékoré prefecture in Forest Guinea still lack essential protective equipment and some practical training in VHF suspect case detection. To minimize the risk of future VHF epidemics and improve management of outbreaks of infectious diseases in the region, current efforts to strengthen the public healthcare system in Guinea should encompass questions of supply and IPC training.