Knowledge and perspectives of health care providers towards clients with substance abuse at Solwezi General Hospital in Solwezi District
Introduction: Substance abuse is increasingly becoming a public health threat associated with varying health and social implications. Healthcare professionals are crucial in the management of substance abuse disorders, and their knowledge and perspectives towards substance abuse clients influences the care that these clients receive. Locally, there is scanty data on the knowledge and perspectives of health care providers towards substance abuse clients in Solwezi District.
Objectives: The objectives of this study were to assess knowledge and perspectives of health care providers towards substance abuse clients at Solwezi General Hospital in Solwezi District.
Materials & methods: A hospital-based cross sectional study was adopted for this study. Data collection was done using a self-administered semi-structured questionnaire adapted from previous studies. The SPSS software version 20.0 for Windows was used for data analysis using descriptive statistics and the Chi-square test for inference at the 0.05 level of significance.
Results: The mean age of respondents was found to be 28.76 years. A female predominance over males was noted with a ratio of close to 5:1. Seventy-seven percent of respondents were Nurses by profession (77.3%), with the majority having attained Diploma as the highest level of education (60%). Overall, knowledge of substance abuse, screening tools and interventions for substance abuse was good. Variations in respondents’ perception of which health care provider was responsible for the assessment and management of substance abuse clients were noted. Priority on substance abuse cases was found to be low in 51% of the respondents, and several barriers to effective management of substance abuse were identified including lack of knowledge (41.4%), lack of manpower (20%), lack of specialized facilities (10%) and poor patient cooperation (16%). Statistically significant associations were found between respondent’s knowledge and interest to work with substance abuse clients; as well as between respondent’s education and priority placed on substance abuse cases.
Conclusion: Health care providers exhibited adequate knowledge about substance abuse. However, low priority over substance abuse cases was reported, and attributed to a number of factors. This therefore calls for more training in substance abuse, particularly assessment and management of substance abuse clients in order to optimize health services rendered to substance abuse clients.
Key words: Substance abuse, Clients, Knowledge, Perspectives, Health care providers
It is condition of publication in the journal that the authors assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Zambia. To this effect all accompanying letters must contain the following statement. The authors being the sole and legitimate holder of the copyright hereby transfer it to Medical Journal of Zambia.