Educational recommendations from the knowledge, attitudes and practice of Free State Province paramedics regarding vaccination policies
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act no. 85 of 1993) promotes the health, safety and protection of employees against occupational hazards. Although managers are expected to implement the above policy, it remains the responsibility of every employee to ensure their health and safety at all times. However, Healthcare workers (HCWs), in particular paramedics, are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases due to the hands-on nature of their work. A number of life-threatening infectious diseases have been identified and classified as occupational hazards, which puts paramedics at increased risk - some of which are vaccine-preventable. However, a low compliance with vaccination policies have been reported amongst HCWs, including paramedics. Possible reasons for this phenomenon are investigated and recommendations to enhance future compliance are made from reviewing of the results. The need for appropriate vaccination of paramedics has been identified. Research was therefore required to address this problem and so ensure the preparedness of paramedics when managing patients in the pre-hospital environment. This study developed educational recommendations that may enhance compliance of Free State Province paramedics with vaccination policies. The aim of the study was to explore the knowledge, attitudes and practice (KAP) of Free State Province paramedics regarding vaccination policies, and to develop educational recommendations that may enhance future compliance. This study was done in the field of Health Professions Education (HPE) and lies in the domain of pre-hospital Emergency Medical Care (EMC). In this study, the researcher explored the KAP of Free State Province paramedics with reference to their compliance with vaccination policies. The researcher made use of an explorative, non-experimental research design. Questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data which were statistically analysed and presented as percentages and frequencies, and reported on in tables and figures. Additionally, the literature study conducted in conjunction with the findings of this study provided reasons for paramedics’ low compliance with vaccination policies within the Free State Province. The findings of the study became the basis from where educational recommendations to enhance paramedics’ compliance with vaccination policies, was derived. This study contributes to Health Professionals, in particular paramedics, being more informed about the risks associated with exposure to occupational hazards. It is recommended that paramedics be vaccinated in order to be protected against vaccine preventable infection and diseases.