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Background: Many disease processes and interventional procedures in paediatrics are associated with pain. In spite of its frequency, it is undertreated globally, exposing children to the risks of long-term physical and psychological sequelae, which can have adverse effects on future treatments.
Objectives: To ascertain the knowledge, attitude and practice of healthcare providers towards management of paediatric pain at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
Methods: In this cross-sectional survey, a semi-structured and self-administered questionnaire was distributed amongst a convenient sample of physicians and nurses attached to clinical departments/units where children are cared for, and those in educational units, between June and August 2017. Their knowledge and attitude toward pain management were analysed using Epi Info v7 software (CDC, USA).
Results: One hundred and ninety seven subjects participated in the study, 95(48.2%) physicians and 102(51.8%) nurses, all of various cadres. Seventy-four percent of them had more than 5 years working experience. One third of participants (30.4%) could name up to 3 non-pharmacological methods of pain management, of which the commonest were cold compress (48(24.4%) with nurses>physicians), followed by hot compress (38(19%)) and distraction (24(12%)). The commonest procedures for which non-pharmacological interventions of pain management were usually applied included immunisation of infants (20%) and venepuncture (17%) while lumbar puncture was the least (1.5%). Half of respondents (52%) had never prescribed/administered morphine to children.
Conclusion: Healthcare providers had poor knowledge of paediatric pain management. There is an urgent need to build their capacity to enable optimal relief of pain among paediatric patients.