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Assessment of Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices of Ministry of Health Physicians towards surveillance system in hospitals and PHCCs


The surveillance of infectious diseases has recently assumed greater importance because of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and because strains of pathogens causing TB, malaria, cholera, dysentery, and pneumonia have developed resistance to antibiotics. These contagious diseases draw attention to the need for an active disease surveillance system. This study addressed the issue of evaluating knowledge, attitude and practices of Ministry of Health (MOH) physicians in the entire 20 health regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) towards the surveillance system.


This is a cross sectional, descriptive, self-administered question-based survey, that was conducted at a national level, involving the entire 20 health regions of KSA, and including all MOH physicians working in notifying disease in both Governmental Primary Health Care Centers (PHCC's) and hospitals throughout the month of July 2006.


A total of 3399 physicians were included in this study, 78% of them were male, 40.5% were in the age group 31 - 40 years, and 91.5% were non Saudi. Of all participating physicians, 51.6% had 1-5 years' experience in the health field in Saudi Arabia; only 40.9% had good knowledge about the definition and components of the surveillance system, and only 14.3% had good knowledge of the correct time for notification. 83.8% of participating physicians agreed that the case definition in the surveillance system was clear, 77.2% agreed that the operating surveillance system was good, 76.5% agreed that the notifiable diseases were sufficient; only 5% had attended training courses in surveillance system, and 20.8% reported never receiving any feedback. There were statistically significant differences in knowledge about surveillance and knowledge of the notifiable diseases between physicians according to their different characteristics.


This study showed that the knowledge of disease notification among doctors working in MOH hospitals and PHCCs was poor, which can affect disease surveillance. The training and retraining of physicians on disease notification, and regular feedback on diseases reported is recommended in order to improve the disease surveillance system. Increasing awareness among all health care professionals, patient's health education about the importance of their cooperation, clear written manuals including clear written control measures, simple, short and readily accessible forms, all should be ensured to improve reporting.