Occupational health issues of oral health care workers in Edo State, Nigeria.
OBJECTIVES: To assess awareness and prevalences of occupational health problems among oral health care workers in Edo State, Nigeria. METHODS: This cross-sectional survey was conducted among oral health care workers working in two tiers of health care delivery in secondary and tertiary government-owned dental centres across Edo State from December 2008 to February 2009. A self-administered questionnaire was used to elicit information on demographic characteristics, awareness and prevalences of occupational problems, and preventive measures. RESULTS: The response rate was 93.8%. Overall, 71.1% of respondents were dentists; other respondent groups included dental nurses and dental surgery assistants (16.7%), dental technologists (8.9%) and dental therapists (3.3%). The occupational health problem for which respondents reported the highest level of awareness was biological hazards (96.7%). The most commonly prevalent occupational health problems were musculoskeletal problems [wrist pain (66.7%), waist pain (76.7%), body pain or weakness (84.4%)]. Infection by biological hazards was reported by 6.6% of respondents, and included infection by HIV/AIDS (2.2%), hepatitis B (1.1%), tuberculosis (1.1%) and other infections (2.2%). Chemical hazards in the form of skin reactions to latex gloves (17.8%), camphorated p-monochlorophenol (CMCP, 8.9%), X-ray (7.8%) and other allergies (5.5%) were reported. A few respondents (2.2%) reported occupation-related malignancies. Overall, 52.2% of respondents possessed a health insurance policy, and 93.3% and 88.9% worked in environments they described as well ventilated and well lit, respectively. A quarter (25.6%) of respondents used a film-holder when taking intra-oral radiographs and 23.3% used protective ear plugs when working in close proximity to noisy machines. CONCLUSIONS: Occupational health issues were significant among oral health care workers in Edo State. Awareness of biological hazards was very high. However, musculoskeletal issues represented the predominant occupational problem, and their potential negative impact necessitates urgent educational and ergonomic intervention.
Osazuwa-Peters, N; Azodo, CC; Obuekwe, ON
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