Background: We conducted an assessment of knowledge about blood borne pathogens (BBP) and use of universal precautions at first level care facilities (FLCF) in two districts of Pakistan.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey and selected three different types of FLCFs ; public, general practitioners and unqualified practitioners through stratified random sampling technique. At each facility, we interviewed a prescriber, a dispenser, and a housekeeper for knowledge of BBPs transmission and preventive practices, risk perception, and use of universal precautions. We performed multiple linear regression to assess the effect of knowledge score (11 items) on the practice of universal precautions score (4 items- use of gloves, gown, needle recapping, and HBV vaccination).
Results: We interviewed 239 subjects. Most of the participants 128 (53%) were recruited from general practitioners clinics and 166 (69.5%) of them were dispensers. Mean (SD) knowledge score was 3.8 (2.3) with median of 4. MBBS prescribers had the highest knowledge score while the housekeepers had the lowest. Mean universal precautions use score was 2.7 +/- 2.1. Knowledge about mode of transmission and the work experience alone, significantly predicted universal precaution use in multiple linear regression model (adR2 = 0.093).
Conclusion: Knowledge about mode of transmission of blood borne pathogens is very low. Use of universal precautions can improve with increase in knowledge.