Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2022;11(3):125-132. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2022.01062)

Knowledge and perception of inborn errors of metabolism (IEMs) among healthcare students at a selected public university in Klang Valley, Malaysia

Liew SH, Lim JY, Yahya HM, Rajikan R


Healthcare providers play an important role in improving the health of Inborn Error of Metabolism (IEM) patients. However, IEM knowledge level among local healthcare students has yet to be determined. Thus, the aim of this study is to assess the knowledge and perception of IEM among local healthcare students. An online self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 378 students across the Faculty of Health Science, Pharmacy and Dentistry from a selected public university in Lembah Klang, Malaysia. For knowledge, a score of 1 is assigned to each correct answer with a maximum total score of 14. Likert scale was used to determine their perception of IEM. The total mean score of IEM knowledge among healthcare students is 5.8. There was no significant difference of mean score of IEM knowledge among the students from the Faculty of Health Science (6.1 ± 2.7), Pharmacy (5.5 ± 2.6) and Dentistry (5.8 ± 2.8). However, the score of knowledge is observed to be significantly different by ethnicity, religion and family history of IEM (p < 0.05). Furthermore, students with experience of meeting an IEM patient and attending IEM classes scored higher than those with no experience (p < 0.05). Most of the healthcare students (89.5%) perceived their knowledge to be insufficient and very poor. Majority of the students from faculty of pharmacy (70.8%) agreed that the IEM course should be mandatory compared to health sciences and dentistry (p < 0.05). This study identified an overall inadequacy of knowledge of IEM among healthcare students. There is a pressing need to improve the IEM-related knowledge and awareness of Malaysian healthcare students. This can be accomplished by incorporating online classes that emphasizes the treatment and management of IEMs in the university curriculum.

KEYWORDS: knowledge, perception, healthcare, inborn errors metabolism

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