Pinnacle Medicine & Medical Sciences

(ISSN: 2360-9516)

July 2015, Vol. 2 (6).

© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research Article


A Study On Hand Washing Practices Among Health Care Workers In Embu Referral Hospital, Embu County

Songa, J.1*, Van Roekel, K.2, Mwangi, J.3, Noel, L.

School of Public Health,1,2,3,4
Moi University,
Box 4606, Eldoret 30100,

Accepted 5 July, 2015; Available Online 22 July, 2015.


Introduction: There is very little published information on hand washing practices of Health Care Workers (HCWs), their knowledge, perceived barriers & facilities for practicing hand washing in hospitals from Kenya. So this study was undertaken. Such studies give important inputs for further research, policy making & planning. Materials & Methods: This cross-sectional study which was conducted in Embu Referral hospitals of Embu County had two components: 1) Direct observation of hand washing pre & post patient contact followed by 2) administration of anonymous questionnaire testing knowledge. A total of 142 hand washing opportunities were studied. The study was conducted in consenting Departments affiliated to the hospital. Two study tools based on use were: 1) Performa to record practices; and 2) Questionnaire to test knowledge of HCWs. Results: Only 129 observations could be made. Though the HCWs had general awareness about Hand Washing Practices (HWPs), they lacked information about specific aspects & the practices were poor. Low hand washing rates (%) were observed among nurses (28) & doctors (23). There was a gap between knowledge and practice. Knowledge of doctors on various aspects of hand washing was inadequate though it was better than nurses. "High Work Load" & "Lack of Time" were perceived to be important barriers for Hand Washing Practices (HWPs). Shortage of sinks was noticed in different Departments. Conclusion: There is a need to develop guidelines for hand washing practices & the facilities for it in the Departments of Embu County Hospital.

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