Hepatitis B Prevalence, Knowledge and Occupational Factors among Health Care Workers in Fako Division, South West Region Cameroon
Microbiology Research Journal International,
Aims: Hepatitis B is a major public health problem in Cameroon and health care workers (HCWs) due to the nature of their work continue to be at high risk. Only very few studies have investigated the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) prevalence and its associated factors among health care workers in Cameroon. The purpose of this study was thus to investigate HBsAg prevalence as well as to assess knowledge and history of occupational exposure among HCWS in the Fako division of Cameroon.
Study Design: A hospital based cross sectional study design was used for this study.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in 12 different health institutions within the Fako Division, South West Cameroon in the month of February 2018.
Methodology: Our study included 281 HCWs (10 Doctors, 115 nurses, 26lab workers, 3 pharmacists, 8 social workers, 37 cleaners, and 82 interns) who were on duty during the study period. The male to female ratio was 0.35 with a modal age class of 18-29years. Data was collected using a pretested self administered structured questionnaire. HBsAg testing was done using Acon hepatitis B surface antigen rapid test strip (Acon Laboratories Inc. San Diego.CA). Categorical variables were compared using Chi square test or its equivalents and a P-value less than .05 was considered significant.
Results: From our study only 58.72% of participants had sufficient knowledge about hepatitis B infection and even less (33.1%) had sufficient knowledge concerning the transmission and prevention of the disease. Only 45.91% of participants had adequate knowledge about the hepatitis B vaccine similarly. Up to 86.22% of participants had been victims of at least one type of occupational exposure to blood and other infectious fluids. We recorded an HBsAg prevalence of 4.98% among HCWs and the male gender was significantly associated with the infection (P = .04). Age and other socio demographic factors were not found to be significantly associated to HBsAg prevalence.
Conclusion: HCWs have a low knowledge level about the hepatitis B infection, its transmission, prevention and vaccine. This is coupled with a high occurrence of occupational exposures among these HCWs. Therefore more effort should be made to educate HCWs about hepatitis B, especially those who are less qualified. The prevalence of 4.98% for HBsAg in HCWs in Fako Division is lower than in other regions of the country.