Experiences of workplace client-initiated violence against health sector workers in Zambia: a case study of Chongwe District
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Violence among Zambian healthcare workers as reported in both electronic and print media. The World Health Organization, (1994, p. 123) defines WPV as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal development or deprivation". In certain quarters workplace violence is often considered part of the job in the health sector and has, therefore, been more frequently overlooked than in other sectors until recently. The purpose of the study was to investigate workplace client-initiated violence against health workers in Chongwe District of Zambia. A case study using interview method was conducted to describe lived experiences of health workers in the workplace in Chongwe district. Eight of the twenty targeted health workers consented to be interviewed from seven healthcare facilities in Chongwe district. The health workers included two clinical officers and six nurses. The results showed that types of violence experienced include verbal abuse, threatening behaviors, physical assaults, and sexual harassment. The violent incidents were perpetrated by I patients/clients, by patients' relatives, and at times by work colleagues. Health workers reacted to |incidents of violence by reporting to supervisors, telling their friends, crying or, retaliating. Some of them also preferred to ignore the situation. Most of the health workers stated that violence had psychological and emotional effects on them, which consequently affected their work performance. Violence against heath workers is a problem in Zambia and the world at large which has the potential to compromise quality healthcare delivery. As such, it is necessary that measures are taken to curb the vice of workplace client-initiated violence against health workers, to create a safe working environment for them. In this light, topics on violence against health workers should be included in healthcare education programmes and provided during in-service training for qualified health workers to promote their assertiveness and to raise awareness on the existence of violence against them.
University of Zambia
Master of Science in Peace, Leadership and Conflict Resolution