Predictors of HIV Infection Risk among Health-Care Workers in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

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David Nzioka Mutisya

Keywords

HIV infection, Health Care Workers, Predictors of HIV Infection Risk, Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

The study set out to investigate the determinants of HIV infection risk among healthcare workers in SSA through a systematic review. The aim of the study was to identify, collect and systematically review and synthesize existing literature articles on the determinants of HIV infection risk among healthcare workers in SSA. The objectives of the study were to: determine the prevalence of health care workers' exposure to HIV risky conditions in health care settings in SSA; identify selected determinants of HIV infection risk among Health care workers in SSA (major focus in Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania) and apply effective strategies to prevent issues associated with HIV infection risk among Health care workers.  The study conceptualizes that HCWs in the SSA region are at risk of HIV infection due to factors related to lack of healthcare resources, their knowledge, attitude and practice, and barriers to reporting. The combined effect of these factors is that hoped to determine the propensity of HCWs to be infected by HIV/AIDS.  The key themes guiding the systematic review were:  risk to exposure to HIV among HCWs; lack of health care resources and facilities. The findings of the study confirmed all the three alternative study hypotheses that: there is a significant relationship between lack of health care resources and facilities and the risk of HIV infection among HCWs in SSA; there is a significant relationship between HCWs’ knowledge, attitude, and practice on HIV and their risk of HIV infection in SSA and; there is a significant relationship between barriers to reporting and the risk of HIV infection among HCWs in SSA. In this regard, the study found out that HCWs in SSA are at high risk of HIV exposure whilst working. In this regard, this is a result of lack of enough equipment, poor practices at work and barriers to reporting, including stigmatization and lack of well-stipulated reporting guidelines.  As such, the following recommendations were made:: there is a need to increase funding in the health care sector to enhance access to the right equipment, microbicides, vaccination, and PEP for HCWs; there is a need for psychosocial support systems to make it easy for HCWs to report infection with ease and that; the government should adopt recommended global best standards to enhance protection of HCWs while at work in SSA. Two areas for further study were also recommended. As such, there is a need for studies on each of the study objectives, and; there is a need for a descriptive study on the topic under investigation in this study for correlation purposes. 

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