Pan African Medical Journal

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Knowledge and occupational hazards of barbers in the transmission of hepatitis B and C was low in Kumasi, Ghana

M Mutocheluh, K Kwarteng


Introduction: blood borne viral hepatitis transmission still ranges between 4-20% in many Ghanaian communities. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) also called liver cancer is reported as the leading cause of cancer mortality among males in Ghana. We studied the knowledge and risk factors associated with barbers' occupation in the transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV).


Methods: a randomized cross-sectional survey of 200 barbershops was conducted in Kumasi between January and August 2013. Barbershops, which operated continuously for more than 8 months, were selected for the study. Structured questionnaires were administered to the study participants. Data were entered and analysed in Microsoft Excel spread sheet and SPSS v12. The percentage value of each question was calculated.


Results: all the barbers involved in this study used a new razor blade on every client and claimed to sterilize the hair trimmers after use on every client. The methods of sterilization; 46.5% of the barbers used the ultraviolet radiation sterilizer cabinet, 29% used 70% alcohol and 23% used antiseptic solutions. More than thirty-six percent (36.5%) and 5% of the barbers had heard of HBV and HCV respectively. Only 7% and none knew the route of transmission of HBV and HCV respectively, whereas 7% knew sharing razor blade or hair trimmer could transmit both HBV and HCV. More so, 2% knew HBV and HCV could cause cancer and 2% had received the HBV vaccine. The majority of barbers (63%) had education up to the junior secondary school level. None of the barbers used a new apron nor washed their hands after work on each client.


Conclusion: awareness of barbers about HBV or HCV and job-related factors contributing to spread of infections was very poor among the vast majority of the barbers studied. Thus, giving training for the barbers is required toward prevention of blood- borne infections associated to their profession.
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