Introduction of Hepatitis B Birth Dose Vaccination in Africa: A Toolkit for National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups
In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization’s Headquarters and Regional Office for Africa, the Coalition has developed a birth dose toolkit for national immunization technical advisory groups, aimed at providing background, data, and best practices for introducing a birth dose program in African countries.
Children infected with HBV during birth have a 90% risk of developing chronic HBV infection, and they carry into adulthood a one in four risk of premature death from HBV-related liver disease, including liver cancer. However, only one in five newborns receive the birth dose vaccine in Africa, and only 14 of 47 countries in the African region have introduced the HepB-BD vaccine into their immunization programs.
Even in countries with a policy, the HBV vaccination rate of newborns is low. Many African countries have low awareness of the health threats of HBV, as well as poor understanding of benefits of vaccination, delaying the development of newborn vaccination policies. Funding to implement birth dose vaccination is also an issue. Preventing chronic HBV infection and associated deaths in Africa requires improvements in HepB-BD coverage.
In this document, you will find:
- Overview of hepatitis B disease, including risk and burden in Africa
- Details on the hepatitis B vaccine schedule, effectiveness, safety and administration
- Elimination targets for mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B and vaccination coverage requirements
- Considerations for introducing HepB-BD in African countries, including economic considerations
This toolkit aims to bring together essential information that can be used to guide national immunization technical advisory groups (NITAGs) in their decision-making process for HepB-BD introduction. While this toolkit is mainly intended for NITAGs in countries in the WHO African region, other countries may wish to use it as appropriate.