Assessment of Physical Child Abuse Awareness among Pediatric Registrars in Khartoum State, Sudan

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جامعة الشيخ عبدالله البدري
Abstract Background: Physical abuse of a child is an action that results in actual or potential physical harm. It is in the form of an interac- tion, which is reasonably within the control of a parent or person in a position of responsibility, power, or trust. It may be of single or repeated incidents. the number of reports about children being abused and molested in the country is growing. So, this study is conducted to assess awareness of the residents toward this issue as they are the first-line responder. Materials and Methods: This was a multicenter hospital-based study of the pediatric residents of Sudan Medical Specialization Board (SMSB) throughout the country. A sample size of 170 residents was calculated and randomly assigned by simple random sampling from the list of 736 registered pediatric residents at SMSB. The study questionnaire, structured into items on awareness of child abuse, developed by the researcher, pretested and validated, was filled as a written form. Descriptive analysis of knowledge and practice responses of the residents was conducted with SPSS version 26.0 (IBM SPSS Statistics). Chi-square was calculated for awareness scores/grades against socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents and the level of significance was set at p < 0.05. The study was approved by SMSB and ethical clearance was obtained. Results: A total of 174 pediatrics residents were involved in the study. The majority of the participants (81%-n = 141) were females, more than half of the study participants (58%) were aged between 22 to 30 years. Regarding their level of training, 20.1% (35) were R1, 2.3% (4) were R2, 47.1% (82) were R3 and 30.5% (53) were R4. The majority of the residents 146 (85.1%) had good knowledge, and 26 (14.9%) of them had poor knowledge, 73.6% (128) of the study participants have encountered a suspicious case of physical abuse among their children’s patients, less than half of the participants (42.5%, n = 74) have ever reported a suspicious case of child abuse and 57.5% (100) of them have never reported a suspicious case, 14.4% (25) of the residents have seen a definite case of physi- cal abuse in the last 6 months, 90.8% (158) of the doctors thought that that identification and reporting mechanism of suspicion of possible child physical abuse should be part of vocational training course. Conclusion: The study showed that pediatric residents: Revealed accepted good knowledge and inappropriate practice. More than half of the residents in our study did not know any mechanism for reporting child physical abuse, and only 30.5% knew the reporting mechanisms. There is a lack of educational training and education regarding child abuse. Reporting systems for child abuse cases are weak. There is a strong impact of training on the ability to detect child abuse cases which leaves us to relentlessly emphasize the importance of training and call for filling the gap by implementing a comprehensive training program for medical personnel that includes child abuse detection. On the other hand, formulating a reporting and a referral system for such cases to ensure that they inevitably reach the Family and Child Protection Units for appropriate management.