130430 Leprosy: Knowledge and attitudes of physiotherapists in Nigeria

130430 Leprosy: Knowledge and attitudes of physiotherapists in Nigeria

Purpose: The objectives of this study were to investigate the knowledge and attitudes towards leprosy of physiotherapists in Nigeria.

A cross-sectional survey of 330 physiotherapists, with minimum 1-year work experience in public hospitals in the 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria, was carried out. A pre-tested, self-administered questionnaire with open and closeended questions was employed. Data obtained were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics of Chi-square tests with Alpha level at 0.05.

The respondents’ mean and range of years of job experience was 8.6 + 5.51 and 1 to 27 years respectively. Close to half (44.5%) of the physiotherapists had only a fair knowledge about leprosy and 165 (50%) had poor attitudes towards leprosy and persons with leprosy. There were significant associations
between the schools of training and each level of knowledge and attitudes of physiotherapists to leprosy and to persons who have suffered from leprosy. There was, however, no significant association between years of job experience and each of knowledge, or attitudes of the physiotherapists to leprosy.

Conclusions and Implications: It was concluded that a substantial number of physiotherapists in Nigeria had fair knowledge but poor attitudes towards leprosy. The institution of training appears to have an influence on their knowledge and attitudes. It is therefore recommended that educational and training programmes on leprosy should be organised and emphasised at the basic training institutions for physiotherapists.

Key words: leprosy, physiotherapists, attitude, knowledge