An assessment of practices of prevention of perinatal transmission of hepatitis B at health facilities in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

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INTRODUCTION: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains the leading contributor to global prevalence of liver diseases. Ghana is highly endemic for HBV. There is also a high prevalence of the condition among blood donors and pregnant women. HBV is the most common cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer among children and adults in Ghana. Humans are the only source of infection of the HBV. The hepatitis B virus infection is caused by a 42-nm DNA virus in the family Hepadnaviridae. There are two main modes of transmission of HBV, vertical transmission (mother to child, MTCT) and horizontal transmission. Infected individuals may be asymptomatic or symptomatic and may present as an acute or chronic infection. The strategies for the national control of HBV are limited to surveillance of acute viral hepatitis, education and three completed HBV vaccine doses in the infant. Little is done to reduce MTCT of HBV. There is therefore the need to assess the current practices of PMTCT of HBV to identify the gaps in current practices and propose recommendations that may help improve the current situation. METHODS: A cross sectional design was be used for this study. Data on the practices of HBV was collected with the aid of a semi-structured questionnaire among mothers and their newborns at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. One hundred and ninety-one (191) mothers and their newborns were assessed. RESULTS: The prevalence of HBV among mothers was 4.52%. There was no coinfection of HIV amongst mothers. Mothers had average knowledge of HBV. PMTCT of HBV was xi limited to screening of mothers for HBsAg at ANC. No exposed newborn received the monovalent vaccine or the HBIG. Maternal factors associated with uptake of PMTCT of HBV included age, religion, level of ANC facility, number of contacts with care providers, screening for HIV and Syphilis and previous vaccination practices. CONCLUSION: Increase education of mothers on HBV. The prevalence of HBV among mothers is at the intermediate level, need to study the barriers and facilitators of PMTCT of HBV and adopt a strong national policy and implementation program that will make accessible diagnostic tests, antiviral therapy and universal birth dose in addition to current strategies to curb the vertical transmission of HBV, its chronic squeal and the maintenance of HBV in the population.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, College of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Public Health in Population, Family and Reproductive Health.
Hepatitis B virus infection, knowledge, prevention, newborns, mother- to- child transmission