Shoroug E. Ibrahim
Background: A Sleep disorder is one of the new and rapidly growing specialties in the field of medicine. The importance of this specialty and the size of the problem are underestimated by many workers in the medical field due to lack of physicians education in sleep and sleep disorders.
Objectives: To assess the general knowledge and attitude of primary health care physicians about sleep disorders as well as to determine the factors associated with better knowledge about sleep disorders.
Methods: A descriptive cross sectional study was adopted including a representative sample of PHC physicians working in 43 MOH PHC centers in Jeddah distributed on 4 sectors. The sample size was distributed over the four sectors, proportional to the number of PHCCs in each center. Then, PHCCs including physicians were selected through simple random technique. All physicians working in the selected PHCCs were invited to participate in the study till we reached the required sample size. A validated self-administrated questionnaire was utilized to measure knowledge and attitude of PHC physicians toward sleep disorders.
Results: The study included 160 physicians. Their age ranged between 24 and 64 years with a mean of 33.08 and SD of 7.67. Majority were Saudi (86.2%). Less than a third of primary health care physicians (30.6%) knew that there are sleep disorders centers in Jeddah and only 6 physicians (3.8%) knew the name the gold standard diagnostic test required confirming the diagnosis of OSAS and in some occasions other sleeping disorders. Almost a third of primary health care physicians (34.4%) received education or attended any lecture or scientific activity about sleep disorders. Only 6.9% of the surveyed PHC physicians in Jeddah had sufficient knowledge (>60%) regarding sleep disorders. Female, higher educated and family physicians were more knowledgeable than others. In addition, physicians who thought that sleep disorders is a distinct medical specialty and those who received education in sleep disorders scored higher in knowledge of sleep disorders than others.
Conclusions :Primary health physicians in Jeddah had insufficient knowledge regarding sleep disorders. However, they well-recognized the importance sleep disorders.