Knowledge of the WHO surgical safety checklist in an anaesthesiology department

Nyathela-Nthai, Yolwando
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Background The WHO checklist has the potential to decrease surgical mortality and morbidity if implemented and used correctly. It is not known if the WHO checklist is widely used in the Department of Anaesthesiology at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and if it is used correctly. The aim of this study was to describe knowledge of the WHO checklist among anaesthetists in the Department of Anaesthesiology at Wits. Methods A cross-sectional design was followed in this study using a self-administered questionnaire. The study population consisted of all anaesthetists working in the Department of Anaesthesiology. A convenience sampling method was used, and completion of the questionnaire implied consent. The Angoff Method was used to determine the pass mark of 70% or more. Results The median (IQR) overall score for the questionnaire was 57.9% (52.6 – 63.2%). Only 19 (12.7%) anaesthetists obtained a pass mark. There was no significant difference between the median (IQR) score of the junior anaesthetists, 57.9% (52.6 – 63.2%) and 57.9% (52.6 – 68.4%) for the seniors (p=0.080) or between the scores of those who used the WHO checklist less than daily, 60.0% (52.6 – 63.2%) or daily 57.9% (52.6 – 63.2%) (p=0.133). Significantly more senior anaesthetists achieved a pass score than juniors. Conclusion The anaesthetists’ knowledge regarding the WHO checklist at Wits was inadequate, despite two-thirds of the participants indicating that they used it daily. There was no significant difference in knowledge between those who used the WHO checklist daily and those who did not or the scores of junior and senior anaesthetists. Significantly, more seniors obtained a pass score; however, the practical relevance of this is questionable.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Medicine in Anaesthesia to the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021