Prevalence of violence against health care workers in the emergency department of a teaching hospital in Nigeria
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Department of Community Health, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1717
Background and Objective: Globally, violence targeted at health care workers (HCW) have reached an alarming level. The incidence of workplace violence is peculiar to both developing and developed countries with more workers at risk in developing countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa due to poorly developed work environment. According to World Health Organization, 8% to 38% of health workers suffer physical violence at some point in their careers. The Objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and forms of violence against HCWs in Emergency Department (ED) of University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Nigeria. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of all the 282 HCWs in the ED of UBTH.  A standardized, pretested, interviewer-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Data was analyzed using IBM SPSS version 25.0 software. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: The mean age of the HCWs comprised of doctors 53 (18.8%), nurses 50 (17.7%), paremedics 36 (12.7%), porters 29 (10.3%), and laboratory scientist 19 (6.7%), among others, was 36.1 ± 8.4 years. The prevalence of physical violence was 63 (22.3%) while that of psychological violence was 247 (87.6%).  The perpetrators were mainly patient relatives, 93.6% and 96.7% for physical and psychological violence respectively. The predominant forms of violence were verbal abuse (99.5%), kicking (96.8%), slapping (60.3%), bullying (45.3%), threat (40.4%), and sexual harassment (32.4%). Majority experienced post-traumatic stress disorder following the violence. Duration of service (> 5 years) was the only socio-demographic variable that showed statistically significant association with psychological violence (p = 0.008). Conclusions: The study showed worrisome high prevalence of violence against HCWs in the ED of UBTH. There is an urgent need for intervention measures directed at patients, patient relatives, HCWs and the community, to be initiated to cub the menace of violence against HCWs.