Women’s Access to Hepatitis B Prevention and Treatment Information

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Published on International Journal of Health, Nursing, & Medicine
ISSN: 2193-3715, Volume 2, Issue 1, page 32 – 36
Publication Date: March 11, 2019

Adwoba Addo-Boateng
Gender Consultant, Petals of Love Foundation
Accra, Ghana

Journal Full Text PDF: Women’s Access to Hepatitis B Prevention and Treatment Information.

Hepatitis B Viral disease is a health problem that is endemic in most parts of the world. The disease is mostly widespread in poor regions where there are little or no access to hospitals and health care facilities. This study explores women’s knowledge of the Hepatitis B Virus and how health campaigns of the disease can be used to sensitize the women in order to increase testing, prevention and possible treatment of the hepatitis B Virus. Random sampling was used to select 30 women in deprived areas of Ghana, to find out their views on the Hepatitis B Virus. Out of the results obtained, the study concluded that all the women have heard about Hepatitis B, none of the women has ever tested for the Hepatitis B Virus because of high cost health care delivery. In lieu of that community health campaigns should be done in these impoverished areas to positively impact knowledge on the hepatitis B disease and possibly do free testing, vaccination and treatment.

Keywords: Hepatitis B, Health Problem, Women’s Knowledge, Cost Health Care & Treatment.

1. Introduction
Since Ghana’s decentralization process in the early 1990’s, government officials and international aid agencies, donors and non- governmental organizations have engaged in tremendous efforts to enhance attention to women’s concerns and improve gender sensitivity in developmental processes at the local level.
For nearly three decades, Ghana has observed the system develop despite challenges to improve better service delivery and the quality of life for everyone. Throughout the years, Ghanaians have also seen increasing shift to women and gender issues through development and advocacy interventions.
Hepatitis B is a chronic disease that affects the liver. Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) affects an average of 257 million people globally according to the World Health Organization. Many people are believed to have acquired the infection during childbirth or in infancy, and before the widespread availability of hepatitis B vaccine. Once infected, up to 90% of infants will develop chronic HBV infection. Left untreated, approximately 15%–25% of those with chronic HBV infection develop serious liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver damage, and even liver cancer (Department of Health and Human Services, 2019).

1.1 Problem Statement
The worrying aspect about this health issue is that despite policies and rules governing gender and health issues in most organizations, there is little evidence to show that they are being followed. Hence, what is needed is a mindset change rather than more policies and this can only be done if the workforce of the informal sector is sensitized to the needs of women.
Hepatitis B affects women; most of them got the disease from their male sex partners. Since women remain the poorest population, they do not have the economic means to access health facilities. Access to hospitals and health facilities remains a problem in deprived areas. It is against this background that a study of a health campaign on Hepatitis B and its impact on women is done.

1.2 Objective of the Study
As part of the process of improving women’s access to Hepatitis B prevention and treatment, a field research was conducted to identify the extent to which women have knowledge of Hepatitis B. This will help the government, international donors and social change activists to be innovative to encourage women to have a better understanding of Hepatitis B prevent it and possibly treat it which will improve their lives on the whole.

2. Literature Review
A research was conducted on Gender and the utilization of health services in the Ashanti Region in Ghana. The research sought to structure a model for the use of gender-based health services for the Ashanti Region of Ghana, and furthermore to recommend intervention methods to ensure gender equity in the use of health care services. A sample size of 650 was used. A multiple regression model was used to compute the results. Results showed that although females have more need for health services than males, they do not use health services as much. Also, quality of service, health status, service cost and education have greater effect on male use than females. Whilstdistance and income have higher impact on female use. The recommendations are to ensure equality in health care usage; females should be empowered through increased access to formal education and economically viable opportunities. The introduction of a free health care delivery will also help increase women’s access to health care facilities. (Buor, Daniel, 2004).
Using a group of 87 individuals, 39 men and 48 women were random sampled from a population of Cambodian American people. These people participated in the community health worker programme and a follow up data of 6 months post intervention concluded that 15% of men and 31% of women reported they had received a HBV test. HBV related knowledge levels increased (Victoria, M Taylor et al, 2013).

3. Methodology
For the purposes of the research, key respondents were women from the informal sector selected from Teshie Nungua and surrounding areas all in the Greater Accra region of Ghana.

3.1 Sample Size
Random Sampling was the technique used to gather the data, the sample size is 30. The questionnaires were administered to people who were readily available. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics.

3.2 Sex Category of Respondents
Questionnaires were administered to females in the study area. The administered questionnaires indicated high level of women participation in the informal sector.

3.3 Background Information of the Respondents
From the answers given by the respondents it was acknowledged that rural urban migration is still predominant. You find most women migrating to the capital for greener pastures. Also most respondents have little educational background with the highest being secondary school.

3.4 Limitations for the Study
Most respondents were reluctant to fill the questionnaires as they explained their busy schedule. Also the respondents complained that the questionnaires were too lengthy.

3.5 The study seeks to achieve:
The views of women in the informal sector about Hepatitis B.
The extent of knowledge women have about Hepatitis B
The challenges women face when they go to the hospitals and other health centers.
The number of women in the informal sector who access Hospitals and health centers.
The healthcare services women are likely to access and why?
The challenges women in the informal sector face that prevents them from getting vaccinated against the disease