Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Towards Hepatitis Virus Infection Prevention Among Healthcare Interns and Medical Students in A Tertiary Hospital, South-East Nigeria
Background: Hepatitis B and C viruses are common and preventable causes of liver disease. Health care workers are prone to infection by the hepatitis B and C viruses. In Nigeria there is no current guideline on vaccination of health care workers especially health care interns.
Objective: To determine the knowledge, attitude and practice of health care interns and students towards hepatitis virus infection prevention.
Methodology: This is a cross-sectional descriptive questionnaire-based study which was carried out among healthcare professional interns and medical students. Informed consent and ethical approval were obtained for this survey. Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS version 22 and appropriate descriptive statistics was applied.
Results: A total of 253 interns of several healthcare professional groups and medical students took part in the survey. The healthcare interns were 115 (45.5%) and medical students were 138 (54.5%). They were 112 males (44.3%) and 141 females (55.7%), with age range 18-40 years and mean age of 22.9± 3.2 years. The respondents that knew that both hepatitis B and C were infective in nature were 225 accounting for 90.7% of respondents. The respondents with good knowledge on the modes of transmission of hepatitis were over 90% for known modes of transmission while those that knew of mother to child transmission accounted for 77.6% (n=180). Regarding the attitude of the respondents toward hepatitis B and C, only 60.4% (n=148) thinks that they are at risk of getting hepatitis infection. Those that have not received any form of hepatitis B vaccination were 163 accounting for 65.4% (n=163/253) of respondents. A high percentage of the respondents 97.8% (n=223/253) knew hepatitis B and C can cause liver disease.
Conclusion: Despite a good knowledge of hepatitis B and C infectivity, attitude towards prevention of the infection was poor. The study reveals an urgent need for adequate and effective government and institutional policies towards prevention of viral hepatitis.
Key words: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Prevention, Interns, South- East Nigeria.