Background: Travel medicine deals with the prevention and management of health problems of travelers all around the world. Primary care physicians are the first point of contact in a healthcare system, and they are often consulted to provide medical pre-travel advice. In this study, we assessed the knowledge and attitude towards travel medicine among primary health care physicians working in Cluster 2, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey study conducted among primary care physicians working in Cluster 2, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the year 2021. Data was collected through a self-administered questionnaire that has been developed and validated by the study authors and consisted of questions that assessed the knowledge and attitude towards travel medicine in addition to the participants' socio-demographic characteristics.
Results: A total of 240 primary care physicians participated, 52.92% of them were males, and 74.58% were Saudi. Only 51.67% of them said that they are updated about travel medicine, and websites were the main source of information at 82.50%. The mean (±SD) of the overall knowledge score was 16.18(±3.58) indicating a suboptimal knowledge level. the knowledge level differed significantly according to only physicians' updates about travel medicine, and the source of information, being higher among those who are updated at 17.19 (±3.01) vs. 15.09 (±3.83), and those who get their information from websites like CDC at 16.45(±3.54). The mean overall attitude score was 38.75(±3.95), reflecting a high positive attitude. Saudi physicians showed a significantly higher positive attitude at 39.07(±3.78) compared to the non-Saudi ones at 37.82(±4.32), with a P-value of 0.03. Similarly, the score differed significantly by the physicians' position being the highest among consultants at 40.52(±2.54).
Conclusion: The current study revealed a suboptimal knowledge level and a positive attitude towards travel medicine among primary care physicians working in cluster 2 in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia.