May 29, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Hepatitis B vaccination at birth helps fight life-threatening liver infection

Hepatitis B birth-dose vaccination offers Africa a chance to fight liver infection and related cancers, which kill approximately 80,000 people on the continent each year.

90% of newborns have hepatitis -B infection, chronic hepatitis B infection develops infected at birth. It is also common in children under the age of five (30 percent) and lowest in older children and adults (2-10 percent). Many people can have the infection for years without knowing it.

Professor Catherine Spearman, from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town, said at a discussion hosted by the US medical device company on April 22 Abbott found that babies who are vaccinated at birth are 3.5 times less likely to be vaccinated and contract the potentially life-threatening liver infection.

Liver cancer

according to dr Rachel Beyagira, hepatitis officer at the Ugandan Ministry of Health, reported to the Uganda Cancer Institute that in 2018, of the 280 liver cancer cases, 90 percent were due to chronic hepatitis B infection.

About 990,000 new ones appear on the continent each year Hepatitis B infections, which lead to 80,000 deaths, while nearly 210,000 new infections with hepatitis C cause about 45,000 deaths. Of these, an estimated 360,000 infants are infected with hepatitis B each year in sub-Saharan Africa.

Although incidence is highest in West Africa, where many people with undiagnosed hepatitis B live, the virus is high in sub-Saharan Africa endemic -Saharan-Africa.

The World Health Organization’s global goals call for a 90 percent reduction in new cases of hepatitis B and C and a 65 percent reduction in deaths by 2030.

Just 2 percent of Africans living with chronic hepatitis B infection receive a diagnosis, WHO says, and only 0.1 percent receive treatment.

The continent also ranks among the hepatitis B B vaccination lags behind the rest of the world. Only about 11 percent of newborns receive the birth dose vaccine, the fastest way to reduce prevalence.

In Uganda, says Dr. Beyagira, infant vaccination is part of the expanded Ugandan immunization program launched in 2002, has achieved coverage of more than 90 percent.

The shortage of hepatitis B vaccine at birth dose (HepB-BD) and gaps in knowledge however, among health workers were stumbling blocks to the fight.

“Uganda does not yet have HepB BD – the Uganda National Immunization Technical Advisory Group approved its introduction in April 2022,” she noted.

< p>She said that an estimated 3,000 new chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections are emerging in Uganda as a result of mother-to-child transmission.

“To meet the WHO target of hepatitis B Reaching a prevalence of less than 0.1 percent in five-year-olds by 2030 requires a comprehensive approach, including hepatitis B virus testing in pregnant women, hepatitis B birth-dose vaccine for all infants within 24 hours of birth, and treatment of mothers with high viral loads,” noted Dr. Beyagira.

To eradicate the disease, Dr. Janvier Serumondo, Director of the Department of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Viral Hepatitis at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, the goal must be vaccinating children.

“If we can vaccinate every single child within 24 hours of birth, followed of at least two additional doses, we will eradicate this disease and associated cancers,” he said.

Rwanda has been recognized as one of the countries with a successful hepatitis C elimination plan (2019-2024) and has screened four million people (60 percent of the population) and treated 16 percent of all chronic cases.

It was selected from among six countries testing WHO’s elimination of hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses

Elimination is defined as a reduction in incidence—95 percent for hepatitis B virus and 80 percent for hepatitis C virus infection—and a 65 percent reduction in death by 2030.

Example R uanda

Dr. Rwanda’s Serumondo says training of 1,500 healthcare workers, screening campaigns and decentralization of hepatitis management to the lowest levels of health centers in Rwanda have helped fight the fight.

He said that until As of December 2021, 6.03 million people have been screened, of whom 129,549 have tested positive. An estimated 59,584 people have been diagnosed with HCV, and 91.5 percent of positive cases have been treated.

“We hope to increase access to HCV testing by introducing HCV self-testing,” he said.


In 2019, 43% of babies born worldwide received a birth-dose hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth, as recommended by WHO.

It is estimated that 80 % of liver cancer patients worldwide have it -Saharan Africa and East Asia.

The main risk factors for liver cancer are hepatitis B and C virus infections.

In Africa, other risk factors are alcohol-induced exposure versus aflatoxin cirrhosis and metabolic syndrome.

Chronic hepatitis B infection can be treated, slowing the progression of cirrhosis, reducing the incidence of liver cancer, and improving long-term survival.

The best way to prevent hepatitis is through vaccination to get fun. The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given as a series of three vaccinations over six months.