Health workers??? knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards hepatitis B infection in Southern Nigeria


S. O. Samuel*, S. A. Aderibigbe, T. A. T. Salamiand O. A. Babatunde

Globally, it is estimated that approximately 400 million individuals are chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus and more than a million people die annually from HBV-related causes. This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo state, Nigeria, to determine health workers knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards hepatitis B infection using a structured questionnaire. Two hundred respondents from the different cadres of health workers in the hospital were recruited by stratified sampling into the study. More than three-quarters of the respondents (81%) had ever heard of hepatitis B infection prior to the study. Of those that were aware of hepatitis B infection, 92% mentioned blood and blood products as route of transmission of Hepatitis B, 68.5% mentioned needles and sharps while only 37% said that the disease can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Incorrectly identified routes of transmission by the respondents include faeco-oral transmission (14.2%) and transmission through drinking contaminated water (9.3%). On ways of preventing Hepatitis B infection, correctly identified preventive measures include vaccination by a majority (77.2%) of the respondents. More than three quarters of the respondents (80.9%) said that Hepatitis B can be acquired as a nosocomial infection from the hospital while 69.8% said that Hepatitis B infection is widely transmitted like HIV/AIDS. A little more than three-quarters of the respondents (75.5%), were aware of the existence of Hepatitis B vaccine prior to the study. Only 70.2% have actually ever received Hepatitis B vaccine, out of which only 59.4% completed the vaccination schedule. Poor compliance of Health workers to hepatitis B vaccination is an issue that deserves serious attention. There is a need for health education campaigns for health workers so that they can understand the risks that they are exposed to based on the nature of their work.

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