Aim: The present study was conducted to give an insight into the level of perception, practice and attitude of Sudanese dentists
in relation to infection control measures at the time of the 2020 outbreak of COVID-19 through an online survey.
Materials and methods: A sample of 315 participants was enrolled in the study. The study included Sudanese dentists who currently practice in Sudan. An online survey was conducted in August 2020, using the Google Form software. Data were analyzed using the statistical software for social science (SPSS) and presented in terms of percentages. Mean scores of perceptions, practice attitude sections, were compared to some of the questions in general characteristics section using the Kruskal–Wallis and the Mann–Whitney U tests to derive a relationship.
Results: The most prevalent age group (49.4 %) was between the ages of 25-34.
The female and male percentages were 70.2% and 29.8% respectively.
A total of 94 (36.3%) dentists (36.3%) were practicing for more than 10 years, 179 (69.1%) had received training in infection control in dentistry, and 82 (31.7%) had attended training or lectures regarding COVID-19. The majority of dentists agreed that COVID-19 is a dangerous infection and a serious public health problem (86.8%), additionally most of the dentists agreed that dental clinics can be a reason of spreading COVID-19 in the community (90.3%). More than two thirds of the participants (63.9%) responded that, they always let their health staff members wear protective clothing such as gowns, scrub, whereas 48.2% responded that they always ask their patients to sit far from each other and wear masks while in the waiting room to decrease disease transmission.
A total of 64 participants (24.8%) strongly agreed that they should avoid working with patients who were a suspected case of COVID-19. Only 7% agreed that they should treat the patient and ask him/her to go to the hospital if he/she is sneezing or coughing in their clinics.
Furthermore, most of the participants (84.1%) agreed that if dental staff members have flu-like symptoms, they will not allow them to work.
A statistically significant difference was found when perception was compared based on years of practicing with the highest mean score (144.44) among those who were practicing more that 10 years (p=0.002).
No significant difference was found in the mean score of perception among participants who received or did not received training in infection control (p=0.77).
However, significant relationships were noted between the variables (dental professions, years of practicing and receiving lecture on infection control) and practice with p value of (0,0,0.001 respectively).
Sudanese dentists showed adequate perception and attitude towards COVID-19 infection controls and measures in dental clinics. However, there was limited understanding by dentists of the extra precautionary measures to protect patients from COVID-19.
Keywords: Sudanese dentists, perception, practice, attitude, COVID-19.