Author Identifier

Emmanuel O Adewuyi

ORCID : 0000-0002-4533-0340

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Bulletin of the World Health Organization


World Health Organization


School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Precision Health




Auta, A., Adewuyi, E. O., Tor-Anyiin, A., Aziz, D., Ogbole, E., Ogbonna, B. O., & Adeloye, D. (2017). Health-care workers' occupational exposures to body fluids in 21 countries in Africa: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 95(12), 831-841.



To estimate the lifetime and 12-month prevalence of occupational exposure to body fluids among health-care workers in Africa.


Embase®, PubMed® and CINAHL databases were systematically searched for studies published between January 2000 and August 2017 that reported the prevalence of occupational exposure to blood or other body fluids among health-care workers in Africa. The continent-wide prevalence of exposure was estimated using random-effects meta-analysis.


Of the 904 articles identified, 65 studies from 21 African countries were included. The estimated pooled lifetime and 12-month prevalence of occupational exposure to body fluids were 65.7% (95% confidence interval, CI: 59.7–71.6) and 48.0% (95% CI: 40.7–55.3), respectively. Exposure was largely due to percutaneous injury, which had an estimated 12-month prevalence of 36.0% (95% CI: 31.2–40.8). The pooled 12-month prevalence of occupational exposure among medical doctors (excluding surgeons), nurses (including midwives and nursing assistants) and laboratory staff (including laboratory technicians) was 46.6% (95% CI: 33.5–59.7), 44.6% (95% CI: 34.1–55.0) and 34.3% (95% CI: 21.8–46.7), respectively. The risk of exposure was higher among health-care workers with no training on infection prevention and those who worked more than 40 hours per week.


The evidence available suggests that almost one half of health-care workers in Africa were occupationally exposed to body fluids annually. However, a lack of data from some countries was a major limitation. National governments and health-care institutions across Africa should prioritize efforts to minimize occupational exposure among health-care workers.



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