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Pan Afr Med J. 2012;13:2. Epub 2012 Sep 2.

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

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Department of Chemical Pathology, Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu, Imo State, Nigeria.



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.


Structured questionnaires were administered to these workers which assessed level of knowledge of the viruses, practice of barrier protection and level of HBV vaccination.


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).


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.


HBV vaccination; HCV; HIV; healthcare workers; safety measures

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