GHS To Introduce Newborn Hepatitis Vaccination


GHS To Introduce Newborn Hepatitis Vaccination

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has announced plans to introduce Hepatitis B vaccines for newborns as part of activities to expand access to Hepatitis B treatment in the country.

According to the health service, the newborn Hepatitis B vaccination will be implemented together with other plans, including heightened awareness creation, screening of pregnant women and price subsidy for medication.

This is expected to help shore up diagnosis from the current 10 to 90 percent and put 80 percent on treatment by 2030.

Director General, GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, speaking at a media engagement ahead of the World Hepatitis Day commemorated on July 28, each year, said only 22 per cent of the 10 per cent of people diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B (HBV) receive treatment.

“For Hepatitis C, only 21% of people with the infection are diagnosed, with 62% of those diagnosed receiving treatment to cure them,” he said.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said recognising the growing burden of hepatitis, the country as part of its SDG attainment drive, all pregnant women living with chronic HBV are to have access to treatment, while all infants will receive Hepatitis B birth vaccines within 24 hours of birth to prevent infection,” he said.

He further noted that recent maternal Hepatitis B serosurvey has yielded concrete results to inform decisions on HBV birth dose.

“The Ghana Health Service, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and with support from the Global Fund, will in 2024 implement the triple elimination of Hepatitis B, along with HIV and Syphilis. The antenatal service package will be expanded to include testing pregnant women for HBV, with the necessary treatment offered to those needing it,” he indicated.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said the GHS was also working towards meeting the conditions for benefiting from the significant reduction in the prices, on the global market, of some of the medications used for the treatment of Hepatitis B and C.

“Similarly, efforts are being made to enhance the national capacity to offer the needed hepatitis B and C tests at affordable prices and decentralise hepatitis care to increase access to testing and treatment,” he added.

Programme Manager, National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme, Dr. Atsu G. Seake-Kwawu, presenting the national figures said 1.5 million new Hepatitis B infections with 820,000 deaths are recorded yearly.

He also mentioned that similar 1.5 million new cases of Hepatitis C are recorded yearly with 299,000 deaths.

He indicated that of the number, one in 10 people living with Hepatitis B are aware of their condition while one in five people living with Hepatitis C are aware of their condition.

He further noted that only one in five people with Hepatitis B are on treatment as compared to three out of five with Hepatitis C.

He said although the disease burden has reduced from 10.5 in 2025 to 9.1 in 2019 there is the need to intensify diagnosis and treatment to further reduce deaths.