ANALYSIS OF THE PREVALENCE AND FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH HEPATITIS B INFECTION AMONG ADULTS SEEKING CARE AT MAKENI GOVERNMENT REGIONAL HOSPITAL, SIERRA LEONE
This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of Hepatitis B among adults seeking care at Makeni Regional Hospital, and factors influencing awareness, and attitudes towards the disease. The significance of this study lies in its potential to provide valuable information on the prevalence of Hepatitis B and its risk factors in the study population. This study used a facility-based cross-sectional design, which involved collecting data at a single point in time from a sample of individuals seeking care at the Makeni Regional Hospital. Blood samples were obtained from participants to evaluate seroprevalence, and questionnaires were distributed to collect relevant data. The study included 403 individuals who sought care at Makeni Regional Hospital. SPSS software was used to process, clean, and analyze the acquired data, which included descriptive statistics such as tables and pie charts. The results indicated an estimated 47% seroprevalence of viral hepatitis B infection among individuals attending Makeni Regional Hospital. Notably, despite widespread awareness of Hepatitis B infection, there were no matching actions or behavioral changes.
A troubling finding was that 64% of the participating individuals said that they were engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse and many partnerships, which has been associated with an increased frequency of sexually transmitted illnesses in previous research. Based on the findings of this study, several recommendations can be made to address the high seroprevalence of HBV and to improve public health outcomes. It is crucial to develop and implement comprehensive health education programs in Makeni to raise awareness of the risk factors that contribute to the high prevalence of HBV infection. These programs should focus on educating the population about the dangers of engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse, multiple relationships, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Key words: Hepatitis B viral infection, seroprevalence, Knowledge and attitude, Makeni Regional Hospital, Sierra Leone