Infection control among dental therapists in Zimbabwe
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Objectives: To assess the general infection control practices with special reference to the prevention of transmission ofHIV/AIDS infection among dental therapists in Zimbabwe. Setting: Dental therapists practising in Zimbabwe Government Oral Health Clinics. Methods: A descriptive cross sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire. Questions dealt with infection control practices in the procedure rooms, including barriers to transmission of infection, the practice of disinfection of working surfaces, the use of autoclave, and sterilization of the handpiece. The questionnaire also covered issues of personal protection through the use of protective wear, vaccination against hepatitis B as well as knowledge of one's HIV status. Results: There was a 68% (24/35) response rate. The therapists were predominantly male and they were evenly distributed in the provinces of Zimbabwe. All were trained in Zimbabwe; 91.7% had not been vaccinated against hepatitis B and only 20% (n=7) had undergone previous HIV testing. Use ot gloves was universal; 92% used face masks; 66.7% used protective eyewear; 87.5% wore protective garments; 95% autoclavcd/chemoclavcd high speed handpieces; 83.3% autoclavcd/chemoclavcd slow speed handpieces. Barriers to infection control ranged from 22.7% to 40.9% and was attributed to non-availability of gloves and disinfectants. Conclusion: The dental therapists seem to practise acceptable infection control methods. There is need to improve upon handpiece sterilization, the use of eyewear and improvement upon supplies for disinfection. Vaccination against hepatitis B virus needs to be encouraged.
Additional Citation InformationChidzonga, M. M., Makoni, F. & Mahomva, L. (2006). Infection control among dental therapists in Zimbabwe. Central African Journal of Medicine, 52 (7/8), 83-87.
University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences