Few studies undertaken in Ethiopia revealed the high exposure of medical waste cleaners to occupational injuries and infectious diseases related to their job. No study, however, have been undertaken about the health seeking behavior of health care waste cleaners in Ethiopia. The purpose of this research was therefore, to analyze the patterns of health seeking behavior and associated factors among the health care waste cleaners in West Arsi Zone, Oromia regional state, Ethiopia. An institutional based cross-sectional study was undertaken in which quantitative data were collected from medical waste cleaners working in both public and private healthcare facilities using structured questionnaire. 102 samples were selected using probability proportional to size sampling technique and data were collected by well-trained enumerators and entered in to SPSS version20 to be analyzed in relation to the objectives of the research at hand. Both descriptive and inferential statistical tools such as frequency tables, charts, Pearson Correlation, and linear regression analysis were used. The findings of the study revealed that health care waste cleaners in West Arsi Zone have low level of health seeking behavior. Among 102 respondents that participated in the survey, 65 of them haven’t been vaccinated, 57 haven’t ever made health check-ups, and 34 haven’t received health care services after an exposure to certain types of injuries or infections. Statistical results of both linear regression and Pearson Correlation analysis have shown no statistically significant relationship between respondents’ health seeking behavior and their socio-demographic background. The low-level health seeking behavior of health care waste cleaners in the study area is largely influenced by institutional factors such as the inability or absence of willingness on the part of health care facilities to provide all the necessary means through which medical waste cleaners can improve their health seeking behavior. Therefore, health care facilities should create enabling environment for medical waste cleaners to stay protected from injuries and contaminations. They should provide safety trainings, supply protective devices, and encourage workers to be vaccinated and seek treatments when injured.
Bewunetu Zewude Gebremeskel*