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Prevention and Care of Hepatitis B in Senegal; Awareness and Attitudes of Medical Practitioners.

Am J Trop Med Hyg; 97(2): 389-395, 2017 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28829726

Abstract

In highly endemic settings for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection such as Senegal, access to HBV prevention and care is rapidly evolving. In this context, all medical practitioners should have baseline knowledge on HBV infection and promote access to vaccination, screening, and care. A knowledge and attitudes survey on HBV infection was conducted among a randomly selected sample of medical practitioners in Senegal. Participants were asked to fill-out a questionnaire on the HBV epidemiology, prevention, and treatment. A 60-item knowledge score was computed; the lower quartile of the observed score was used to define poor knowledge. Factors associated with poor knowledge were assessed using a logistic regression model. A total of 127 medical practitioners completed the questionnaire. Only 14 (11.0%) participants knew that HBV vaccine could be safely administered to pregnant women and 65 (51.2%) to newborns. Older practitioners (> 40 years) as well as general practitioners (compared with specialists) were more likely to have a poor knowledge score with odds ratios (ORs) of 3.1 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0-9.2) and 2.6 (95% CI 1.0-7.3), respectively. Practitioners who declared not to recommend HBV screening frequently during their consultation were more likely to present a poor knowledge score [OR: 3.0; (95% CI 1.1-8.2)]. As universal HBV screening is being promoted in countries with endemic HBV infection, our finding that poor screening attitudes were associated with a poor knowledge is of concern. There is a need to raise awareness of medical practitioners in Senegal toward universal HBV screening and early vaccination of newborns.