World Health Organisation stated that Hepatitis B is “a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B infection (HBV) and can put individuals at higher risk by causing chronic infection”. Contrary to this, research conducted in Sabarkantha by the Indian Institute of Public Health- Gandhinagar (IIPH-G) and two other diabetes care centres situated in Vadodara and Ahmedabad, indicates that there is a lack of awareness amongst the ASHA workers, pregnant women and post-natal ladies. Regarding the prevention of this infection through vaccination.
This lack of knowledge among them also consists of lack of knowledge of modes of transmission as well as whether it is infectious or not, symptoms, prevention method and correct dosage schedule of vaccine, and confusion in differentiating between Hepatitis A, B and E.
58 ASHA workers and 281 antenatal (ANC) and postnatal (PNC) ladies took part in this review, to evaluate the information in supply-side (ASHA) and demand-side (ANC/PNC ladies).
Since the familiarity of Hepatitis B is two to four times higher among healthcare workers than that of the normal population, the investigation discovered that just about a half of the ASHA workers had taken the Hepatitis B vaccine and even among them, somewhere around only 10% (six of the 58 ASHAs) have completed all three doses
While only half of the participating ASHA workers thought about the transmission of this viral infection by blood and blood-related items, Only 13 realised that it can spread through unprotected sex, surprisingly very few (9) knew about mother-to-child transmission.
While around 80% of ASHA labourers knew about the birth dose of the Hepatitis B vaccination, around 24% of them (14) knew about the dosing schedule at the 6th, tenth and fourteenth weeks. This gains significance as basically 98% of ASHA labourers counsel for institutional conveyance and child vaccination to antenatal care ladies.
Among the 281 ANC/PNC women, all except five were unaware of vertical transmission from mother to child and had practically no knowledge about the prevention of Hepatitis B.
The study reportedly states that “It was also observed that response for contamination mode of transmission was also noted more than expected number. Jaundice was the first answer when asked for symptoms of Hepatitis B. It showed that still the differential-difference is not seen for hepatitis A, E with Hepatitis B across the health system actors as well as among the community population.”
“urgent need to draw attention to the level of awareness about HBV infection, implementation of National Viral Hepatitis control program (NVHCP) activities on the ground level”. States the author, in a Review published in the October-December issue of the International Journal of Medicine and Public Health. “Regular preparing and monitoring of healthcare workers of and the local community might further develop information, and preventive practices” the review adds.