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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-28

Study on awareness about Hepatitis B viral infection in coastal Eastern India


1 Department of Gastroenterology, Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College, Cuttack - 753 007, India
2 Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar - 751 023, India

Correspondence Address:
Shivaram Prasad Singh
Department of Gastroenterology, Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College, Cuttack - 753007
India
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Source of Support: Kalinga Gastroenterology Foundation, Cuttack, India, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-9747.76902

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Background: Hepatitis B is a major health problem in India. To prevent transmission and progression of the disease in the community, proper community awareness about the disease, including prevention, is necessary. Our objective was to study the awareness amongst the general population about hepatitis B virus, including knowledge regarding vaccine. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in Department of Gastroenterology of SCB Medical College. The patients attending the OPD and their attendants were subjected to a questionnaire about different aspects of hepatitis B. Binary logistic regression analysis (SPSS 16) was employed to assess the statistical importance of the observations. Results: In all, 682 individuals (65% patients, 35% non-patients) were studied; 78% were males while 22% were females. Majority were in the age group of 31-40 years. 65% hailed from rural area; 65% were poor. About half of the subjects attended state run medical centers for medical attention; only 17% preferred medical colleges. Awareness about the disease and the vaccine among the subjects was 38% and 32%, respectively. 50% of those who were aware had no knowledge about route of transmission, infectivity, or importance of vaccination. Educated individuals were more aware about hepatitis B vaccine (P < 0.05). Those who read newspaper and listened to radio were more aware about hepatitis B (P < 0.05), and its vaccine (P < 0.05). The percentage of vaccination was 20% among study subjects, but in 30%, their children were vaccinated. The common reason for non-vaccination was lack of awareness (50%); of them, 60% blamed government/doctors/media for their ignorance. Majority (56%) received the vaccine from government hospitals or health centers. Only (10%) obtained vaccination from private centers. Reasons cited for non-vaccination included ignorance (50%), carelessness (12%), high cost (10%), and nonavailability (6%). Source of information regarding hepatitis B included television (75%), newspapers (55%), and radio (26%). Conclusions: Only about one-third of the population in coastal Eastern India are aware about hepatitis B and its vaccine. Less than a third of the population are vaccinated for hepatitis B. The educated, especially those who read newspapers and listened to radio, were more aware about the disease/vaccine. The government health agencies and physicians should work together to educate the masses about hepatitis B and its vaccine.


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