Assessment of the hepatitis B birth dose vaccination program, Papua New Guinea, 2014

Vaccine. 2016 Jan 12;34(3):367-72. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.11.044. Epub 2015 Nov 25.


Introduction: Papua New Guinea (PNG) implemented hepatitis B birth dose (BD) vaccination in 2005 yet since that time coverage has remained low, allowing mother-to-child transmission to occur. We conducted a field assessment of the BD vaccination program to develop strategies for improving the BD coverage.

Methods: We selected five provinces with higher hepatitis B prevalence and five with lower prevalence based on the results of a 2013 hepatitis B serological survey. Within each province, we interviewed district and provincial health officers, health workers, village volunteers, and caregivers from ten randomly selected health facilities. Data were collected on knowledge, practice, vaccine management and data recording/reporting. To identify enabling factors and barriers, we compared health facilities with higher BD coverage with those with lower coverage, and compared caregivers whose children received BD with those whose children did not.

Results: Overall timely BD coverage was 31% and BD vaccination was taking place in 81% of sampled health facilities. Lack of cold chain and vaccine were the major reasons for not providing the BD. Insufficiencies in supervision, vaccine management, community outreach, and data management were identified as obstacles to achieving high timely hepatitis B BD coverage. Good supervision, knowledge of hepatitis B and hepatitis B vaccination, antenatal care including information about the hepatitis B BD, provision of vaccine refrigerators in maternity wards, and outreach vaccination for home deliveries were associated with higher timely BD coverage.

Discussion: Several steps will likely be effective in improving BD coverage: strengthening training and supervision among health workers and officers, educating caregivers on the benefits of the BD and delivery in health facilities, improving vaccine management, and improving data quality. Considerable effort and leadership will be needed to achieve these steps.

Keywords: Caregivers; Health facilities; Health knowledge, attitudes, practice; Hepatitis B vaccines; Home childbirth; Immunization program; Papua New Guinea.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Services Research*
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Papua New Guinea / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines