In November 2016, the Dutch Health Council recommended hepatitis B (HBV) screening for first-generation immigrants from HBV endemic countries. However, these communities show relatively low attendance rates for screening programmes, and our knowledge on their participation behaviour is limited. We identified determinants associated with the intention to request an HBV screening test in first-generation Moroccan-Dutch immigrants. We also investigated the influence of non-refundable costs for HBV screening on their intention.
Offline and online questionnaires were distributed among first- and second/third-generation Moroccan-Dutch immigrants using respondent-driven sampling. Random forest analyses were conducted to determine which determinants had the greatest impact on (1) the intention to request an HBV screening test on one's own initiative, and (2) the intention to participate in non-refundable HBV screening at €70,-.
Of the 379 Moroccan-Dutch respondents, 49.3% intended to request a test on their own initiative, and 44.1% were willing to attend non-refundable screening for €70,-. Clarity regarding infection status, not having symptoms, fatalism, perceived self-efficacy, and perceived risk of having HBV were the strongest predictors to request a test. Shame and stigma, fatalism, perceived burden of screening participation, and social influence of Islamic religious leaders had the greatest predictive value for not intending to participate in screening at €70,- non-refundable costs. Perceived severity and possible health benefit were facilitators for this intention measure. These predictions were satisfyingly accurate, as the random forest method retrieved area under the curve scores of 0.72 for intention to request a test and 0.67 for intention to participate in screening at €70,- non-refundable costs.
By the use of respondent-driven sampling, we succeeded in studying screening behaviour among a hard-to-reach minority population. Despite the limitations associated with correlated data and the sampling method, we recommend to (1) incorporate clarity regarding HBV status, (2) stress the risk of an asymptomatic infection, (3) emphasise mother-to-child transmission as the main transmission route, and (4) team up with Islamic religious leaders to help decrease elements of fatalism, shame, and stigma to enhance screening uptake of Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands.