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Implementing the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine in rural Indonesia.

Creati M, Saleh A, Ruff TA, Stewart T, Otto B, Sutanto A, Clements CJ

  • Journal Vaccine

  • Published 14 Jun 2007

  • Volume 25

  • ISSUE 32

  • Pagination 5985-93

  • DOI 10.1016/j.vaccine.2007.05.055


Reaching mothers and their newborn infants around the time of birth with adequate health services has long been a difficult problem in developing countries. In parallel, similar problems have arisen in attempting to deliver hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine to infants born at home in many countries where mother-to-infant transmission is common. It is logical, and supported by experience in Indonesia, to find a combined solution for both problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a timely birth dose of HepB vaccine be given, particularly in areas of high vertical transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV). This can be achieved relatively easily in situations where almost all births occur in health facilities. But where a significant proportion of births occur at home and without birth attendants able to give injections, this is much more difficult. Barriers to the timely administration of the birth dose of HepB vaccine include weakness in policy development and implementation, difficulties in reliably supplying potent vaccine to community level, limited transport, poor communication, limited cold chain capacity, lack of effective training, and lack of a clear delineation of responsibility between health care professionals. Demonstration projects, such as those in Indonesia, suggest that there are significant opportunities to improve the timely delivery of HepB vaccine birth dose in existing maternal and child health programmes where health workers are trained to provide home delivery care.