oa Southern African Journal of Gynaecological Oncology - Knowledge, awareness and utilisation of the human papillomavirus vaccine in Durban : original research
Background : Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the causative agent of cervical cancers, low-grade cervical lesions, and warts of the genital tract. Since March 2008, a vaccine against HPV has been licensed for use in South Africa to reduce the incidence of HPV. The rationale for undertaking this research project was to establish the knowledge, awareness, and utilisation, of the HPV vaccine, among different healthcare workers.
Method : Healthcare providers (100 general practitioners, 50 gynaecologists, 50 paediatricians, 50 medical staff and 50 nurses) working in the private sector, in the Ethekweni health district in KwaZulu-Natal, were interviewed. Comparisons of awareness among subgroups of healthcare providers were analysed. Associations between awareness and other factors were tested using a chi-square test.
Results : Awareness of the vaccine was found to be 89% among healthcare workers,while 70.4% of practitioners informed patients of the availability of the HPV vaccine. Most practitioners (77.9%) have only prescribed the vaccine less than ten times. Gardasil® was prescribed by 46% of healthcare workers. In general, practitioners were unaware that Gardasil® could be prescribed to males (62.9%).
Conclusion : Healthcare workers were aware of the HPV vaccine, and prescribed it on request. However, even though practitioners were aware of it, most prescribed it less than 10 times since it was licensed. Knowledge regarding the vaccine is deficient, as practitioners are unaware of its licensed use.
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