Needlestick and sharps injuries (NSSIs) are one of the major risk factors for blood-borne infections at healthcare facilities. This study examines the current situation of NSSIs among health care workers at public tertiary hospitals in an urban community in Mongolia and explores strategies for the prevention of these injuries.
A survey of 621 health care workers was undertaken in two public tertiary hospitals in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in July 2006. A semi-structured and self-administered questionnaire was distributed to study injection practices and the occurrence of NSSIs. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate factors associated with experiencing NSSIs. Among the 435 healthcare workers who returned a completed questionnaire, the incidence of NSSIs during the previous 3 months was 38.4%. Health care workers were more likely to report NSSIs if they worked longer than 35 hours per week (odds ratio, OR: 2.47; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.31-4.66) and administered more than 10 injections per day (OR: 4.76; 95% CI: 1.97-11.49). The likelihood of self-reporting NSSIs significantly decreased if health care workers adhered to universal precautions (OR: 0.34; 95% CI: 0.17-0.68).
NSSIs are a common public health problem at public tertiary hospitals in Mongolia. The promotion of adequate working conditions, elimination of excessive injection use, and adherence to universal precautions will be important for the future control of potential infections with blood-borne pathogens due to occupational exposures to sharps in this setting.