Tuberculosis prevention knowledge, attitudes, and practices of primary health care nurses

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Abstract

Aim

Tuberculosis (TB) continues to challenge global health systems, especially in South Africa. Nurses are especially vulnerable to TB exposure, because of their prolonged front-line contact with infected patients—especially in primary health care (PHC) clinics. Their infection control practices, influenced by key factors such as knowledge and attitudes towards TB prevention, become an important consideration. The aim of the study was to (1) describe the TB prevention knowledge, attitudes, and practices of PHC nurses in a South African district and (2) explore moderating factors on TB prevention practices.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was undertaken at all 41 PHC facilities in Mangaung Metropolitan district, Free State province, South Africa, using self-administered questionnaires. Captured data were analysed to yield descriptive and multivariate statistics.

Results

Results suggest several instances of inadequate TB prevention knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Good TB practice was predicted by TB attitudes and knowledge, and the relationship between TB prevention knowledge and practices was not moderated by training, attitudes, or nurse category.

Conclusion

Results echo previous indications that nurses often do not exhibit the desired knowledge, attitudes, and practices required to adequately protect themselves and others against TB and suggest further exploration towards understanding the influences on TB prevention practice among nurses.

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