Knowledge of Radiation Hazards, Radiation Protection Practices and Clinical Profile of Health Workers in a Teaching Hospital in Northern Nigeria LC07-LC12
Dr. KJ Awosan,
Senior Lecturer, Department of Community Health, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria.
Introduction: Use of ionizing radiation in medical imaging for diagnostic and interventional purposes has risen dramatically in recent years with a concomitant increase in exposure of patients and health workers to radiation hazards.
Aim: To assess the knowledge of radiation hazards, radiation protection practices and clinical profile of health workers in UDUTH, Sokoto, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 110 Radiology, Radiotherapy and Dentistry staff selected by universal sampling technique. The study comprised of administration of standardized semi-structured pre-tested questionnaire (to obtain information on socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of radiation hazards, and radiation protection practices of participants), clinical assessment (comprising of chest X-ray, abdominal ultrasound and laboratory investigation on hematological parameters), and evaluation of radiation exposure of participants (extracted from existing hospital records on their radiation exposure status).
Results: The participants were aged 20 to 65 years (mean = 34.04 ± 8.83), most of them were males (67.3%) and married (65.7%). Sixty five (59.1%) had good knowledge of radiation hazards, 58 (52.7%) had good knowledge of Personal Protective Devices (PPDs), less than a third, 30 (27.3%) consistently wore dosimeter, and very few (10.9% and below) consistently wore the various PPDs at work. The average annual radiation exposure over a 4 year period ranged from 0.0475mSv to 1.8725mSv. Only 1 (1.2%) of 86 participants had abnormal chest X-ray findings, 8 (9.4%) of 85 participants had abnormal abdominal ultrasound findings; while 17 (15.5%) and 11 (10.0%) of 110 participants had anemia and leucopenia respectively.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated poor radiation protection practices despite good knowledge of radiation hazards among the participants, but radiation exposure and prevalence of abnormal clinical conditions were found to be low. Periodic in-service training and monitoring on radiation safety was suggested.