Discrimination and Abuse Among Healthcare Workers from Patients and their Relatives at a Tertiary Hospital in Kenya

Farah Alnoor Ebrahim, Jasmit Shah, Karishma Sharma, Nancy Kunyiha, Robert Korom, Sayed K. Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discrimination and abuse of healthcare workers (HCWs) by patients and their relatives remains a pressing and prevalent problem in various healthcare settings, negatively affecting professional outcomes. Despite this, little has been reported about discrimination and abuse in many low- and middle-income countries such as Kenya. We conducted a cross-sectional survey study between May - August 2021 among healthcare workers at a hospital in Kenya. Email invitations were sent, and the survey was in English, and the data was collected through and online survey. Discrimination based on gender was reported by 24.9% of all HCWs; 39.9% of doctors, 17.2% of nurses, and 10.9% of allied staff whereas racial discrimination was reported by 28.8% of all HCWs; 49.0% of doctors, 18.9% of nurses, and 8.9% of allied staff. Verbal or emotional abuse was the most common form of abuse and was reported by 56.8% of all HCWs while physical abuse was reported by 4.9% of all HCWs. For those that reported discrimination based on gender, 77.4% reported patient and their family members as the main source, whereas 81.2% of those that reported discrimination based on race reported the main source was from patient and their family members. Despite strict laws against discrimination and abuse, a significant portion of healthcare providers suffer from discrimination and abuse primarily from patients and their family members. In addition to education programs and policies to curb such behavior in the work environment, coping mechanisms should be actively sought to help healthcare providers deal with such actions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioral Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • abuse
  • discrimination
  • gender
  • patients and relatives
  • race


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