Protection for healthcare workers against Hepatitis B infection necessary

Dr Vivian Senoo-Dogbey, Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Ghana, has called for effective policies that would ensure maximum protection for healthcare workers against infections, particularly Hepatitis B.

She said healthcare workers were susceptible to many infections,  including hepatitis B, which continues to affect many of them while providing care to patients at the facilities.

At a public seminar organised by the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Ghana, in Accra, Dr Senoo-Dogbey, said while providing quality care to patients, it was necessary for health workers to adhere to protective recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

She said measures put in place such as adhering to three doses of vaccines against the disease would get them protected against the disease and make them confident in the discharge of their duties.

The lecturer expressed concern as some healthcare workers had become adamant to the vaccination protocols and could easily be infected without any protection, the reason for championing that course.

“Healthcare workers are taking care of patients on a daily basis. Some of the patients may come to the hospital infected with the virus so to be on a safer side it is important for all healthcare workers to get vaccinated and that even gives them the confidence to give quality care to their patients,” she stated.

Dr Senoo-Dogbey disclosed that a recent study conducted in 2019 showed that 5.9 per cent of healthcare workers were positive and that the prevalence was quite high for a population that is expected to be very safe and have the confidence to take care of their patients.   

She, however, said that sometimes the system was not favourable to allow them to adhere to the recommendations due to lack of effective systems to facilitate adherence, saying “Sometimes the facilities do not have the logistics, vaccines and testing supplies that would help them to go through the recommended protocols, hence their inability to do so.”

She indicated that if healthcare workers were provided with all that they needed, they would be motivated and inspired to vaccinate against hepatitis B for their safety. 

She said, “we expect that all healthcare workers vaccinate to obtain an important marker that gives them maximum protection against the virus. If the health worker has that protection, we can say that the person is not naive but rather zero protected against hepatitis B.”

She urged health facilities to protect healthcare workers by making the vaccines available to them to boost their confidence.

“We need support from policy makers, health facility managers to put systems in place so that the healthcare workers can adhere optimally to the recommendations and be protected against hepatitis B,” she stated. 

She also stressed the need for health facility support for healthcare workers and policy direction for the management, treatment and care support for those already infected.

Dr Senoo-Dogbey was speaking on the topic: “Hepatitis B Virus, Infection and the Ghanaian Healthcare Worker: Burden and Update of Pre-and Post-exposure Prophylaxis.”

Source: GNA

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