Biosafety perspective of clinical laboratory workers: a profile of Pakistan
Introduction: Biosafety during lab work is an important concern in developing countries. Some critical issues concerning biosafety are lack of training, exceeding workload, working too fast, deciding not to follow safe practices, and skepticism about biohazards. This study aimed to determine biosafety perception and practices of laboratory technicians during routine work in clinical laboratories of Pakistan.
Methodology: A total of 1,782 laboratory technicians were interviewed from major public sector hospitals and a few private hospital laboratories throughout Pakistan.
Results: A total of 1,647 (92.4%) males and 135 (7.6%) females participated in the study, with over half (59.7%) having more than five years of work experience. Results showed that 28.4% of the laboratory technicians from Punjab, 35.7% from Sindh, 32% from Balochistan and 38.4% from Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa (KPK) did not use any personal protective equipment. Almost 46% of the respondents (34.2% from Punjab, 61.9% from Sindh, 25.2% from Balochistan and 85% from KPK) said they reused syringes either occasionally or regularly. Furthermore, 30.7% of the respondents said they discard used syringes directly into municipal dustbins. The majority (66.7%) claimed there are no separate bins for sharps, so they throw these in municipal dustbins. Mouth pipetting was reported by 28.3% technicians. Standard operating procedures were not available in 67.2% labs, and accident records were not maintained in 83.4%. No formal biosafety training had been provided to 84.2% of the respondents.
Conclusion: Laboratory technicians in Pakistan lack awareness of good laboratory practices and biosafety measures, and also face a lack of resources.
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