Introduction: Occupational exposure to pathogenic microbes as a result of needles stick injury is associated with significant risk to health care professional’s career, health, families and also the patients. Objective: This study was carried out to find out the incidence of needle stick injury (NSI), probable reasons for getting it and to determine barriers in seeking care after NSI among health care workers (HCWs) of a tertiary care centre in Northern India. It was also planned to assess awareness, acceptability and availability of post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in the above population.
Method: A cross- sectional study was conducted among HCWs of MM Institute of Medical sciences and Research, Mullana. A total of 300 health care workers were selected for the study by simple random sampling method. A self designed, semi- structured interview schedule was used to collect data from the participants by interview method
Result: 80.5% of HCWs reported having had one or more NSI in their career, maximum among the nursing staff (94.2%). The average number of NSIs was found to be 1.85 per HCW per year (±2.29 SD). 17.8% of HCWs had a NSI involving a high risk patient. 56.8% of the NSI were from a hollow-bore type of needle. Most of NSIs were while recapping a needle after use (27%) or bending the needle for breaking it before disposal (20%). Majority of the NSI were not reported to the hospital administration. 72% of the respondents had heard about PEP and less than 10 % of them knew about the availability of PEP services in the hospital
Conclusion: Training of HCWs regarding safety practices needed to avoid NSI should be an indispensable ongoing activity at the hospital . Besides health promotion, there should be setting up of an adequate surveillance mechanism in every large hospital and also of facilities for prompt response and treatment of NSI.