HepEquity Blog: World Immunization Week 2023- HepB Birth Dose in Africa
World Immunization Week: A conversation with Henry Njuguna on Hepatitis B birth dose in Africa
It is World Immunization Week! The theme for 2023 is “The Big Catch-up,” aimed at accelerating progress in countries to get back on track and ensure more people, particularly children, are protected from preventable diseases. This week, Unicef released a report finding that 67 million of the world’s children missed some routine vaccinations from 2019-2021.
Among those life-saving vaccines that babies and children are missing?
WHO recommends that all countries introduce universal hepatitis B birth dose vaccination, but many countries have not yet introduced it or have difficulty reaching high and timely HepB birth dose coverage. The pandemic only made this problem worse. In Africa, where the majority of new hepatitis B infections in children occur, fewer than one in five children are given a timely birth dose of the HBV vaccine.
We’re fortunate to have this interview with the Coalition’s former resident epidemiologist, Henry Njuguna, who is an expert on HepB birth dose implementation in Africa. Henry led the Coalition’s efforts to develop a toolkit for Introduction of Hepatitis B Birth Dose in Africa. He also worked in partnership with CDC to support civil society organizations in developing communications tools to increase birth dose uptake and awareness.
Check out our interview with Henry, and spread the word this #WorldImmunizationWeek that HepB birth dose is a crucial component of global public health!