Pan African Medical Journal

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Theatre and laboratory workers’ awareness of and safety practices against hepatitis B and C infection in a suburban university teaching hospital in Nigeria

Emmanuel Chidiebere Okwara, Oguamanam Okezie Enwere, Chiekulie Kevin Diwe, Jerome Emeka Azike, Alexander Emeka Chukwulebe


Introduction: The consistent use of barrier protection among theatre workers is low in this region, so also is hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination. We assessed the level of awareness of HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV), HBV vaccination and adoption of safety measures by theatre and laboratory workers. Methods: Structured questionnaires were administered to these workers which assessed level of knowledge of the viruses, practice of barrier protection and level of HBV vaccination. Results: Of 169 participants 32.5% were laboratory workers, 67.5% were theatre workers; 29.6% males, 70.4% females. Most 94% (159) were aware that HBV and HCV are viral infections, while 77% (127) and 72.1% (119) knew HBV and HCV are transmitted through blood transfusion and needle stick injuries; a correct knowledge was significantly better among respondents with tertiary education (OR 2.7; 95%CI 1.2-6.3 and OR 2.3; 95%CI 1.0-5.1 respectively). Although 49.1% (80) were aware unprotected sex was a route of transmission, laboratory staff was twice as likely to have this knowledge (OR 2.1; 95% CI 1.08-4.08). Only 67.5% (114) use safety measures consistently, while 86 (54.8%) had received the vaccine of which only 48 (29.78% of total respondents) had completed three (3) doses; more likely among those with tertiary education (OR 2.6; 95%CI 1.2-5.8). Conclusion: Most (94%) workers were aware of the risk of HBV and HCV and HBV vaccine (92.9%) but only few (29.78%) completed vaccination. Unfortunately, only 2/3 use protective measures consistently. There is need to make vaccination of health care workers against HBV infection a firm policy and ensure complete and consistent adherence to work standard safety measures.

Pan African Medical Journal 2012; 13:2

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