Abstract

The Sub-Saharan region has the highest Hepatitis B virus (HBV) rates, and health workers are at an increased risk of contracting nosocomial HBV infection. Vaccination of health workers plays a critical role in protecting them from sequelae of HBV; however, health-worker vaccination remains a challenge for many countries. This study was conducted to review practices/measures and challenges in the Sub-Saharan region relating to vaccination of health workers against HBV. We performed a literature review of articles addressing any aspect of HBV vaccination of health workers in the Sub-Saharan region sourced from PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science, including a case study of Malawi policies and strategies in training institutions and facilities. Our findings indicated that HBV awareness and vaccination were relatively high, but vaccination rates were lower, with 4.6-64.4% of those "ever vaccinated" completing the vaccination regimen. There was also great variation in the proportion of health workers exhibiting natural immunity from previous exposure (positive for anti-Hepatitis B core antibodies; 41-92%). Commonly cited reasons for non-uptake of vaccine included cost, lack of awareness of vaccine availability, and inadequate information concerning the vaccine. Countries in this region will require locally relevant data to develop cost-effective strategies that maximize the benefit to their health workers due to the great diversity of HBV epidemiology in the region. Copyright © 2016 Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia.
Africa Healthcare workers Coverage Hepatitis B