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Nurses Knowledge and Awareness towards Severe Acute Malnutrition Management Protocol in Harar, Eastern Ethiopia

Background: For appropriate management of acute malnutrition skilled, knowledgeable and concerned health professional are mandatory. Thus, assessing the knowledge of nurses towards management protocol of severe acute malnutrition is crucial step for targeted interventions.

Objectives: to assess nurses` knowledge and awareness towards severe acute malnutrition management protocol in Hiwot Fana Specialized University Hospital, Eastern Ethiopia, 2018.

Methods: Cross-sectional study design was conducted among eligible 132 nursing professional from April to June, 2018. Data was conducted using self-administered questionnaire prepared from the national SAM management guideline of Ethiopia revised version 2016. The collected data was analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 software using frequency, tables, graphs, percentages and mean. To compare the knowledge level by various factors t test and analysis of variance with F statistics and P value was computed.

Results: Out of the 23 questions assessing knowledge, 65 (49.2%) had poor knowledge (scored below the mean) and 67 (50.8%) had good knowledge on malnutrition and its managements. The mean knowledge score of nurses was above the average, 53.9 with standard deviation of 14.4 points. More than half, 100 (75.8%) of the nurses had experience in SAM management previously. Males were 1.27 (95% CI: 0.62-2.60) times more odds of being knowledgeable as compared to females. Nurses with the previous experience of managing malnourished child had 1.70 (95% CI: 0.72-4.04) times more likely to be knowledgeable as compared to their counterparts. Having SAM training was associated with having higher knowledge score (AOR=1.56; 95% CI: 0.67-3.61). Having SAM training was found to have significantly higher knowledge score than without training (p=0.034).

Conclusions and recommendations: Generally, the knowledge level of nurses towards SAM management is not satisfactory. Those who ever involved in SAM management, having recent malnutrition training and gender were predictors of high knowledge score. There should be regular capacity building schemes for nurses especially for those who are involved in management of SAM at emergency or SAM unit. Involving experienced clinicians in management of malnutrition is of paramount importance.

Author(s): Abdu Oumer*

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