1.1       Background to the Study

Standard Precautions are guidelines recommended by the centre for disease control and prevention (CDC) 2015 for reducing the risk of transmission of blood borne and other pathogens in the clinical setting. Standard Precautions apply to blood and body fluids and it encompasses all the major features of universal precautions and designed to reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms from both known and unknown sources. Standard Precautions refers to a standard method of infection control in which all human blood and body fluid specimen are treated as if known to be infectious for HBV, HCV, HIV, and other pathogens.

Hospitals are the most hazardous places to work. With the US recording 253,700 work-related injuries and illnesses which is 6.8 work related injuries to every 100 full time employee. Medical laboratory professionals are also a major part of the health workers who are at significant risk of exposure to blood borne pathogen from blood and body fluids emerging from occupational risk. Studies by Janjua et al., (2007) in Pakistan to predict reasons for non adherence to Standard Precautions showed low knowledge and poor practise of Standard Precautions. Another study by Aluko et al., (2012) on safety amongst health workers in Osun State, Nigeria revealed knowledge was at variance with practice. Therefore, there is a need to assess the information medical laboratory scientists have and how to promote adherence to Standard Precautions.

Outbreak of infection is a major problem in public health; therefore public health focuses on three major levels of controlling and ameliorating outbreak of infection, these levels includes prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Adherence therefore falls under the first level of infection control which helps to prevent transfer of infection from patients to health care workers and from healthcare workers to the community.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

According to the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, Medical laboratory professionals are a group of healthcare scientists who provide laboratory information from analysing patients’ blood urine, tissue or other body specimen, the results derived from their analysis plays a very important role in the diagnosis and treatment of the patient as well as in disease monitoring and prevention. In the analysis of blood and body specimen medical laboratory professional face a lot of risk, and this could lead to infection and even death. There is therefore need for adherence to Standard Precautions in order to prevent infections and death.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The general objective is to explore the determinants of adherence to standard precautions for prevention of blood borne infections among medical laboratory scientists in Lagos State. The specific objectives are to:

  • assess the level of information medical laboratory professionals have  that can promote adherence to standard precautions;
  • identify the nature and level of motivation that drive adherence of medical laboratory professionals to standard precautions to prevent blood borne infections during practice;
  • identify behavioural skills that promote adherence to standard precautions by medical lab professionals;
  • assess how Information, Motivation, and behavioural skill influence compliance and adherence to standard precautions, and
  • assess self reported adherence to standard precautions.

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions emerged from the background of the study that the study requires to address and include;h

  1. What is the level of knowledge medical laboratory scientists have regarding Standard Precautions to promote adherence
  2. What motivates their adherence to Standard Precautions?
  3. What behavioural skills does medical laboratory scientists have that promotes adherence to Standard Precautions?
  4. How does information motivation and their behavioural skill influence adherence to Standard Precautions?

1.5       Hypotheses

H1:       There will be a significant relationship between Information and adherence to standard precautions.

H2:       There will be a significant relationship between motivation and adherence to standard precautions.

H3:       There will be a significant relationship between behavioural skill and adherence to standard precautions.

H4:       There will be a significant relationship between information, motivation, behavioural skill and adherence to standard precautions.

1.6       Justification for the Study

Health Care personnel, particularly Medical Laboratory Scientists, constitute a subgroup of health care providers who constantly are exposed to occupational-risk of many blood borne infections because of direct contact with blood and body fluids during the conduct of their professional clinical practice.  The occupational-risk faced by them is of serious concern given their inadequate implementation of standard precautions for prevention of blood borne infections skills.  Although, the subject of this study has been given wide attention in the literature, however the problem persists, particularly among this category of health care providers in Nigeria. Accidental exposure to blood borne pathogens is primary source of infections from most common ones such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

Hepatitis B and other blood borne diseases are important occupational hazard for health care workers (HCW) [WHO]. In some studies, HCWs have been shown to have an up to four-fold increased risk of acquiring HBV infection (Jha et al., 2012 and Ziraba et al., 2010). The main risk factor to contract HBV infection for HCWs is direct contact with infectious material, especially HBV-infected blood or via a needle stick injury with HBV-contaminated body fluids (Pellissier et al., 2012). Based on UNAIDS factsheet, as at November 2016 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2015 and there are approximately 36.7millon people living with HIV. This data shows HIV is still a major public health problem.  .

According to WHO factsheet (2016), between 130 and 150 million in the world have been infected with HCV, with 4 million infection each year and there is currently no vaccine for Hepatitis C. Despite the increase of incidence of these blood borne disease adherence to Standard Precautions among health care workers is still of major concern. Zaveri et al, (2012), in their research observed that the knowledge, attitude, perception and compliance among laboratory technicians in Ahmedabad were poor, also Izegbu et al, (2015) in Nigeria also showed poor attitude perception and practise of Standard Precautions among workers in the laboratories in Lagos. This study carried out wasn’t based on any behavioural theory. This study would use the information motivation behavioural skill model which has never been used before in the determinants of adherence to standard precautions amongst medical laboratory scientists.

Many studies have been conducted but most of which were not based on a conceptually logically grounded behavioural theory. This study is therefore guided by a model that would reveal the salient factors that determines adherence to Standard Precautions among medical laboratory professionals. This study has a number of distinguishing features that characterise it as innovative and unique. The findings from this study would provide adequate information about the information medical laboratory professionals have about Standard Precautions. The study would uncover what motivates them to adhere and the behavioural skills they need to adhere with Standard Precautions. This will go a long way in revealing the determinants of adherence and in promoting adherence to Standard Precautions and preventing hospital acquired infections and death amongst medical laboratory professionals.