Dr. Saeed Ali Alzahrani
Joint Program Family & Community Medicine, Jeddah – 2014
Background: Adolescents don’t present to their family doctors frequently as they considered as one of the healthiest periods in life. Despite of that, they face great risk for developing many of the very common and serious health problems, many of which are preventable.
Objectives:(1) To assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of the primary care physicians in MOH in Jeddah city toward adolescent health.(2) To describe the relationship between the level of the knowledge, attitude and practice with certain demographic and educational variables.
Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was adopted. All primary health care physicians working in the PHC centres of the ministry of health in Jeddah city, at the period of the study were invited to participate in the study. Estimated number was 273 physicians. A 32-items self-administered questionnaire was used for collecting data. It includes questions assessing knowledge, attitude and practice of adolescent health among participants in addition to questions about socio-demographic and educational data.
Results: 206physicians returned completed questionnaires, giving a response rate of 84.4%. Their age ranged between 25 and 59 years with a mean of 33.7±6.9 years. Female physicians represent 61.2% of them while Saudi physicians represent 77.2% of the participants. Almost a quarter of the participants (25.7%) attended training courses in adolescent healthe.g lectures, CME, etc. Only 46 (22.3%) primary health care physicians knew the meaning of HEADSSS. Nevertheless, 147 (71.4%) did not know the correct meaning of each letter. More than half (56.3%) of primary care physicians responded that they like to see adolescent patients whereas 43.7% of them thought that communication with adolescents is difficult. Approaching 60% of primary care doctors (59.7%) feel confident dealing with adolescent physical and/or psychological problems. Most of the physicians (81.1%) thought that there is a need to have a guideline for adolescent`s health in the primary health care in Saudi Arabia.
Conclusion: This study revealed that primary healthcare physicians In Jeddah lack enough knowledge of the basic facts of adolescent health. On the other hand, they had an acceptable attitude toward dealing with adolescent health.
Recommendations: Further continued education of primary health care physicians about adolescent health as well as a well-organized immunization program on adolescent health are recommended. The development of national guidelines is also of paramount importance to increase their awareness .More training and increased exposure to adolescent cases in the undergraduate medical curriculum and postgraduate pediatric and family medicine curricula are also recommended.