Original Article

The public healthcare sector of Mauritius: knowledge of and attitudes toward hearing loss among community health workers

Taslima Foondun, Lidia Pottas, Maggi Soer
Journal of Public Health in Africa | Vol 14, No 10 | a70 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.2497 | © 2024 Taslima Foondun, Lidia Pottas, Maggi Soer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 March 2024 | Published: 30 October 2023

About the author(s)

Taslima Foondun, Department of Speech‑Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Speech Therapy and Audiology, Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital, Mauritius
Lidia Pottas, Department of Speech‑Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Maggi Soer, Department of Speech‑Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

Mauritius does not have community health workers trained in identifying risk factors for hearing loss or in referring patients for diagnostic testing. It is crucial to gather information about the knowledge of and attitudes toward hearing loss among community health workers before involving them in the identification and intervention of hearing loss in Mauritius. To describe the knowledge of and attitudes toward hearing loss among community health workers in Mauritius. A descriptive survey design with quantitative analysis was used. Using non-probability purposive sampling, 125 community health workers which included 94 community health officers and 31 community‑based rehabilitation officers were recruited from the five catchment areas of the public healthcare sector. Participants filled in a 15‑item paper-based questionnaire on the knowledge of and attitudes toward hearing loss. The questionnaire was internally consistent, with Cronbach alpha scores of 0.759 and 0.863. The overall knowledge of community health workers regarding risk factors and the identification of hearing loss was poor (38.3%). 92.6% of community health workers reported positive attitudes toward hearing loss. General knowledge of hearing loss (P=0.015) and knowledge of risk factors and identification of hearing loss (P=0.005) were significant predictors of attitudes toward hearing loss. Knowledge of and attitudes toward hearing loss were significantly associated with working experience and practice setting (P=0.004). There remains a need to educate community health workers about the risk factors and identification of hearing loss to ensure timely diagnosis and management of hearing loss at the community level.

Keywords

attitudes, community healthcare workers, hearing loss, knowledge, primary health care

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