Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Health care workers in poor nations lack gear needed to protect from hiv and other bloodborne infections like ebola

Date:
August 26, 2014
Source:
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Summary:
Health care workers in some of the world’s poorest countries lack basic equipment to shield them from HIV and other bloodborne infections during surgical and other procedures, new research suggests. The findings underscore the lack of adequate protective supplies in nations at the center of the current Ebola outbreak.

Health care workers in some of the world's poorest countries lack basic equipment to shield them from HIV and other bloodborne infections during surgical and other procedures, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. The findings underscore the lack of adequate protective supplies in nations at the center of the current Ebola outbreak.

In Liberia, one of the countries most affected by Ebola, 56 percent of hospitals had protective eyewear for its doctors and nurses, while 63 percent had sterile gloves, the study found. In Sierra Leone, just 30 percent of hospitals had protective eyewear, while 70 percent had sterile gloves. The results of the research are reported online this month in the journal Tropical Medicine and International Health, and are based on data compiled between 2008 and 2013, before the current outbreak.

The Ebola virus is spread through direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. More than 1,300 have died during the current West-African outbreak and transmission has frequently occurred when health care workers treating patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola have been infected. This has often occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.

"Sadly, one of the only benefits of the Ebola crisis in West Africa may be to highlight the baseline lack of personal protective equipment such as eye protection, gloves and aprons for health care workers," says study leader Adam L. Kushner, MD, MPH, an associate in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health. "These items are crucial to protect health care workers today, but were lacking long before the current crisis. We've seen this for many years with HIV."

Despite the billions of dollars that have been spent on HIV, one area that has remained relatively ignored is protective gear, the researchers write. In west and central Africa, as many as 5 percent of the population are HIV positive, making the dearth of protective gear all the more striking.

For their study, Kushner and his colleagues reviewed surveys from 399 hospitals in 13 low- and middle-income countries -- Afghanistan, Bolivia, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mongolia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zambia.

Overall, only 29 percent of hospitals always had eye protection, 64 percent always had sterilizing equipment and 75 percent always had sterile gloves. The range was wide among countries. For example, in Afghanistan, only one-quarter of hospitals had sterile gloves, while 100 percent of facilities in Nigeria and Bolivia had sterile gloves.

No country surveyed had 100 percent availability of all items. In the United States, this type of protective equipment is standard.

The necessity of protection for health care workers, especially those in surgical settings, has been well documented. One study showed that double gloving of health care workers during surgery resulted in an 80 percent reduction in perforations to the inner glove, preventing exposure to blood through openings in the skin. The same study found that more than half of the exposures to blood in sites other than the hand would have been prevented by the use of face shields, waterproof gowns and waterproof boots.

The World Health Organization has made it a priority to combat HIV, malaria and other bloodborne diseases. One neglected area in that effort is protecting health care workers from being placed at risk for infection, Kushner says. The Ebola outbreak highlights this dearth of critical and basic medical supplies. While the focus of the new study was HIV, Ebola can be spread in the same manner and the findings are just as relevant -- if not more so -- during the current epidemic, he says.

"We can all learn from this new epidemic and be better prepared for the next one by remembering that inexpensive protective equipment can keep doctors and nurses safe from infection -- and better able to care for patients who need them," Kushner says. "It is imperative that we make this a priority."

"Scarcity of protective items against HIV and other bloodborne infections in 13 low- and middle-income countries," was written by Shailvi Gupta, Evan G. Wong and Adam L. Kushner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shailvi Gupta, Evan G. Wong, Adam L. Kushner. Scarcity of protective items against HIV and other bloodborne infections in 13 low- and middle-income countries. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/tmi.12371

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Health care workers in poor nations lack gear needed to protect from hiv and other bloodborne infections like ebola." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826100649.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2014, August 26). Health care workers in poor nations lack gear needed to protect from hiv and other bloodborne infections like ebola. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826100649.htm
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Health care workers in poor nations lack gear needed to protect from hiv and other bloodborne infections like ebola." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140826100649.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

Ebola Vaccine Trial Gets Underway at Oxford University

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) A healthy British volunteer is to become the first person to receive a new vaccine for the Ebola virus after US President Barack Obama called for action against the epidemic and warned it was "spiralling out of control." Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins