Knowledge of and attitude toward human papillomavirus infection and vaccines among female nurses at a tertiary hospital in Nigeria
Christian Chigozie Makwe, Rose Ihuoma Anorlu
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
Background: Persistent infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is a prerequisite for the development of cervical cancer. Highly immunogenic HPV vaccines have been developed and licensed for the primary prevention of cervical cancer in some developed and developing countries. This calls for assessment of the knowledge of the HPV infection and the acceptability of the HPV vaccines among health care providers.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess awareness and knowledge of HPV infection and vaccines and to assess attitude toward these vaccines among female nurses at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.
Study design: The study was a cross-sectional, descriptive study using a pretested, structured, anonymous, self-administered, 19-item questionnaire.
Results: A total of 178 female nurses were interviewed during a 4-week period. The mean age of respondents was 37.1 ± 3.1 years. Almost all (99.4%) of the respondents had heard of cervical cancer, while about 85% of them had heard of HPV infection. Only a quarter (25.3%) of respondents had heard of the HPV vaccines, and of those only 26.7% knew the vaccines were for the prevention of cervical cancer. Most (70.2%) of the nurses expressed a desire to be vaccinated and 120 (67.4%) supported the vaccination of preadolescent girls. Those who expressed a willingness to be vaccinated were more likely to recommend HPV vaccination for preadolescent girls.
Conclusion: Overall, there was a poor knowledge of the HPV vaccines among female nurses at Lagos University Teaching Hospital. Despite this poor knowledge, most of the nurses expressed a strong desire to be vaccinated and their intention to recommend it for preadolescent girls. The main reason given overall for not recommending the vaccines was lack of information. There is an urgent need to bridge this information gap.
Keywords: HPV, immunization, cervical cancer
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