Caring at the risk of dying? A knowledge, attitude and practice study of Nigerian physiotherapists on Ebola Virus Disease prevention and care

Background: The fatality of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemics has serious implications on willingness to provide care for the infected persons, persons under investigation (PUI) or survivors. This study assessed knowledge, attitude and practice of Nigerian physiotherapists on EVD prevention and care.
Methods: Seventy-one consenting physiotherapists attending the 54th Annual Scientific Conferences of the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy participated in this cross-sectional study yielding a response rate of 71.0%. A self-administered questionnaire adapted from previous studies and validated by expert review was used to assess knowledge, attitude and practice relating to EVD prevention and care. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics at p<0.05 alpha level.
Results: About half of the respondents (50.7%) had good knowledge about EVD which was significantly associated with educational level (p= 0.036) and work status/cadre (p= 0.053). The respondents correctly identified that EVD is caused by virus (85.9%), can be transmitted through contact with blood (95.8%) and requires a 3-week quarantined window for PUI for EVD (84.5%). 58.7% of the respondents had positive attitude towards EVD which was significantly associated with years of experience (p=0.019). 53.5% of the respondents would buy from a shopkeeper who had contacted EVD but as recovered, while 56.4% would support community re-integration for EVD survivors. Common EVD-induced practices include washing of hands with soap and water (98.6%), cleaning of hands with other disinfectant (88.7%), wearing of gloves and protective clothing (90.9%), avoiding funeral or burial rituals attendance (80.3%) and avoiding to provide care for suspected, PUIs or survivors of EVD in the hospital (83.1%).
Conclusion: Nigerian physiotherapists had moderate to good knowledge about EVD but some attitude problem with support for community re-integration and providing care for suspected, PUIs or survivors of EVD. Common Ebola-induced practices among physiotherapists include hands hygiene, wearing of gloves and protective gears, suspects or PUIs and funeral or burial rituals for EVD avoidance.

Published in 2017, 21 (3)

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Vincent Pol University in Lublin
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