Implementation Approaches for Introducing and Overcoming Barriers to Hepatitis B Birth-Dose Vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa

Glob Health Sci Pract. 2022 Feb 28;10(1):e2100277. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-21-00277. Print 2022 Feb 28.


In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), chronic viral hepatitis B (HBV) affects more than 60 million people. Mother-to-child transmission is a major contributor to the ongoing HBV epidemic and yet only 11 of 54 (20.3%) SSA countries have introduced the birth dose of HBV vaccine (HepB-BD) into their regular immunization schedule. As more African countries adopt HepB-BD, implementation approaches must be targeted to ensure effective and timely HepB-BD delivery, especially in rural and under-resourced settings. We conducted a systematic literature review of published literature using PubMed. We included 39 articles published from January 2010 to August 2020, as well as gray literature, case studies, and research performed in SSA. We describe barriers to the uptake of HepB-BD in SSA at the policy, facility, and community levels and propose solutions that are relevant to stakeholders wishing to introduce HepB-BD. We highlight the importance and challenge of reaching infants who are born outside of health care facilities (i.e., home deliveries) with HepB-BD in partnership with community health workers. We also discuss the critical role of maternal education and community engagement in future HepB-BD scale-up efforts in SSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaccination


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines