Knowledge and Practices of Governmental Hospital Physicians about Health Risk of Ionizing Radiation in Gaza Governorates

Rania Ibraheem Al-Astal
رانيا ابراهيم الاسطل
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Al-Quds University
Ionizing Radiation (IR) is widely used in medicine, especially in diagnostic investigations and therapeutic procedures. It is well-known that ionizing radiation is risky to humankind. Therefore, the benefits from carrying out radiological investigations and therapeutic procedures should exceed its anticipated risks. However, physicians play a role in exposing patients to this radiation as they request these radiological examinations. So, this study has been designed to assess the level of knowledge and practices toward ionizing radiation risks among physicians in order to improve their practices and subsequently to reduce patients' exposure to risks. The study is a cross sectional one; conducted in three governmental hospitals; Shifa, Nasser and the European Gaza Hospital. The participating physicians were about 300 selected via a proportional stratified sampling procedure. The administrative and ethical considerations were taken into account. A selfadministered questionnaire was distributed to the selected physicians and 210 completed the questionnaire with a response rate of 70%. Using a scoring system for assessing knowledge, the study findings indicate that physicians' knowledge towards IR risks was relatively low (less than 56 %). Only 14% of them had a high knowledge in this regard. Regarding physicians' practices, although it was slightly higher their knowledge (58%), still it was relatively low. Only 24% of physicians reported appropriate practices. Additionally, the study showed that there are no statistically significant variations in knowledge and/or practices among participants in relation to age, education and place of work. Moreover, there are no statistically significant variations in neither the knowledge nor the practices among the study subjects in reference to work related factors including; years of experience, experience in radiology department, type of specialty and department. In contrast, participants who use x-ray in therapeutic interventions (guidance) reported more appropriate practices than their counterparts who do not and the variation among the two groups were statistically significant (P value less than 0.05). According to the results, increasing the knowledge of physicians about IR risks and training them about radiation protection are priority issues. Also developing an imaging protocol to help physicians to promote standardized safe practices is a serious responsibility of the decision makers