Childhood hepatitis B in Ethiopia and impact of HBV birth dose scale-up

Ethiopia is estimated to have a 7.4% prevalence of chronic HBV infection. However, despite this high burden, there is currently no national policy on hepatitis B birth dose vaccination. This study aims to better understand the current epidemiology of mother-to-child and early childhood transmission in the Tigray region in Ethiopia and evaluate the impact that the introduction of an HBV birth dose intervention will have. The results of this research will therefore fill an important data gap and inform national policy surrounding the recommendations for implementation of HBV birth dose vaccination.


This study will be performed in two phases:

  • Phase I: Cross-sectional serosurvey of current HBsAg seroprevalence amongst children under 5 years old (with linked vaccination status and maternal serostatus).
  • Phase II: A simulation model of HBV transmission in Ethiopia will be developed and calibrated to data collected in this study. This will be used to evaluate the projected impact of birth dose vaccination scale up and whether it will be sufficient to achieve elimination of HBV transmission in Ethiopia.


This collaborative study is led by Dr Shevanthi Nayagam (Imperial College London, UK), Dr Nega Berhe (Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and Dr Hagos Abreha (Gastroenterology Specialist, Mekele University Hospital, Ethiopia).

The field work is supported by Dr Gessessew Bugssa (PhD student, Mekele University Hospital, Ethiopia) and Dr Anna Daunt (Clinical Research Fellow, Imperial College London).

The study is funded by the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, through a pump-priming grant awarded to Dr Shevanthi Nayagam.