Knowledge, attitudes and practices of doctors at Jubilee Hospital, Tshwane District, regarding the syndromic management guidelines for sexually transmitted infections
Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a public health problem globally, but especially so in sub-Saharan Africa. They contribute significantly to the burden of disease in South Africa and are recognised as major contributors to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, with other potential complications when not managed properly. First-line doctors play a critical role in the management of persons suffering from STIs, and need to comply with the national guidelines for STI management.
Aim: To determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of doctors working in Jubilee District Hospital, Metsweding region, Tshwane, regarding the STI syndromic management (SM) guidelines.
Setting: Jubilee District Hospital in Tshwane North, Gauteng province, South Africa.
Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive study using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted.
Results: Forty-three of the 50 doctors employed at the hospital participated in the study. Fourteen (32.6%) of the doctors were in the 36–40-year age group. Most of the doctors (36 or 83.7%) had only the basic bachelor’s degree, and only 4 (9.3%) attended additional STI training. Only 2 respondents (4.6%) had correct knowledge concerning management of male urethritis syndrome and 10 (23.3%) regarding management of genital ulcer syndrome. In compliance with the national SM guidelines for STIs, 22 (52.4%) of the doctors said they made a diagnosis of STIs using history and physical examination. Only 7 (16.7%) said they asked their patients during every consultation about the number of sexual partners, 21 (51.7%) said they always counsel/screen patients with STIs for HIV infection, and only 4 (9.5%) said they always filled in partner notification slips after attending to the index patient with STIs. This study demonstrated a relationship between doctors’ knowledge of the SM guidelines for STIs and their age.
Conclusion: Overall the knowledge and practices of doctors at Jubilee District Hospital were suboptimal, and training on the SM of STIs should be made available to address this. Management should introduce regular monitoring, evaluation and supportive services for the doctors regarding their management of STIs according to the guidelines.
Full text of the research articles are available online at S Afr Fam Pract 2018; DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2018.1487212