Knowledge and Practice for Prevention of Hepatitis B among Practicing Midwives in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar Nigeria

Monday, 9 November 2015

Regina E. Ella, PhD, MEd, BSc, RN, RM, FWACN
Faculty of Administration Management and Education (FAME), West African College of Nursing, Calan, Nigeria

BACKGROUND: Globally it is estimated that about 400 million individuals are chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus ( HBV) and that more than a million people die annually from  HBV related causes. Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is the blood-borne communicable disease and   the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. Though, a major public health issue world­ wide, the prevalence is higher in the developing countries than the developed. There is an average carrier rate of 10 - 20% in sub-Saharan African general   population and 9 to 39% in Nigeria.   The high carrier rate and hepatitis B being an endemic disease in Nigeria reveal the associated risk of infection among nurses and midwives who have frequent contact with infected blood through invasive procedures. The most frequent route of transmitting Hepatitis B Virus is through needle stick injury.   HBV is a hospital acquired infection which could be transmitted from an infected health-care provider to patients or vice visa which calls for precautionary measures to be put in place to reduce the mortality associated with this disease. However, if the midwife is infected it becomes more precarious because  the life  of the mother and the baby that she come in contact with on a daily basis stands the risk  in this one infection. This study, therefore, assesses midwives knowledge and practice towards the prevention and control of Hepatitis B infection   in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar Nigeria.


A descriptive research design was utilized to obtain information on midwives’ knowledge and practice for prevention of Hepatitis B. Purposive sampling technique guided the recruitment of 120 practicing midwives who work in labor, ante-natal, post-natal and gynecology wards of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital from July to November 2013. A self-structured questionnaire with content validity index of 0.79 and a test-retest reliability coefficient of 0.81 was used to elicit information from respondents.      Data was analyzed using simple proportion and parametric test-chi-square (X2) at p<0.05.


The result showed that majority of the respondents 58 (48.4%) were between age 25 and 34 years; majority of these respondents 83 (69.2%) had worked between 10 and 20 years and were mostly diploma holders 96 (80%). The results also revealed that 78 (65%) respondents had good knowledge of hepatitis B virus, and 83 (69.2%) respondents practiced universal precautions while 37 (30.8%) did not. Majority of the respondents 117 (95.5%) had never contracted hepatitis B infection, while 3 (2.5%) had been infected with hepatitis through practice. Most of the respondents 96 (63.3%) had received hepatitis B vaccine while a high minority 44 (36.7%) had not. Further results highlighted a statistically significant relationship between knowledge regarding prevention of hepatitis B infection and practice of universal precaution to protect against hepatitis B among practicing midwives in UCTH (cal  X2 = 15.6; p < 0.05)

This result finding is encouraging considering the fact that knowledge is usually the first step towards the modification of desirable behavior.  However despite the respondents high knowledge of the infection and practice of universal precautions, about 22% had poor knowledge of infection while 37% did not practice universal precaution. This gap calls for concern seeing that the only way to prevention of hepatitis B infection among practicing midwives is through effective vaccination and adherence to universal precautions which often times cannot be guaranteed.


The result of the study affirms a significant relationship between knowledge and practice of universal precaution. It was therefore concluded that deliberate progrmmaes of  continuing education and training  be designed  for the target population and other health care workes in general, and vaccines be continoulsly provided  to enhance compliance to universal precautions  and to prevent Hepatitis B in the clinical areas 


Prevention, Hepatitis B, Midwives