Prevalence, pattern and factors associated with workplace violence against healthcare workers in Nigeria: A systematic review


  • Afolabi AA Plus-Circle Community Health Advancement Organization, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria & Technical Services Directorate, MSI Nigeria Reproductive Choices, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Ilesanmi OS Western Regional Collaboration Centre, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Chirico F Post-graduate School of Occupational Medicine, Universit√† Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy



Healthcare workers, Workplace violence, Occupational risk, Occupational health, Nigeria


Context: Workplace violence (WPV) against healthcare workers (HCWs) is mostly endured, underreported, or neglected in Nigeria.

Objective: This study aimed to describe the prevalence, pattern, and predictors of WPV against HCWs in Nigeria.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted using pre-defined keywords. The review was performed in line with the PRISMA guidelines on PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science. The population, intervention, comparator, and outcome (PICO) elements for this study were as follows: Population: Nigerian Healthcare workers; Intervention: Exposure to WPV; Comparator: Non-exposure to WPV; Outcome: Mental and Physical health outcomes of exposure to WPV. Of the 18,140 articles retrieved, 15 cross-sectional studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. In all, 3,245 HCWs were included, and consisted majorly of nurses and doctors.

Results: The overall prevalence of WPV (Physical > Verbal/Psychological > Sexual) against HCWs ranged between 39.1%-100%. The predictors of WPV are younger ages (AOR = 2.513, p = 0.012), working in psychiatric unit (AOR = 11.182, p = 0.006), and increased frequency of interaction with patients, and mostly perpetrated by patients and their relatives. Many health facilities lacked a formal reporting system and policies to protect HCWs from WPV.

Conclusion: WPV against HCWs is a public health problem in Nigeria with dire implications on HCWs; the victims, and the aggressor. Administrators of health facilities should design protocols for WPV reporting, recognition, and management. Patient and 'relatives' education on the 'facilities' policy against WPV should be undertaken, while orientation sessions on the risk factors for HCWs are scheduled.