Our Global Voices Posts

CDC works with countries to identify children infected with hepatitis B virus and generate the evidence for hepatitis B vaccine birth dose introduction

Posted on by Anna Akua Minta, (CDC/CGH/GID)
Anna Akua Minta
Anna Akua Minta, (CDC/CGH/GID)
Anna Minta training the survey team
Anna Minta training the survey team.

Around the world, approximately 257 million people are infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), and about 700,000 die every year as result of the long-term, chronic health threats from HBV, including liver disease and cancer. But, such suffering can be prevented with a vaccine! More tragic still, newborn babies infected at birth by their mothers, as well as children infected under age five, run the highest chance of developing chronic health threats and death. Yet, they could be protected by at least three hepatitis B vaccine shots, with the first shot given within 24 hours of birth (birth dose) followed by 2 or 3 additional shots during infancy, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

As a pediatric infectious disease doctor and an epidemiologist with CDC’s Global Immunization Division, my primary commitment is to the health of children around the world, which includes helping countries follow WHO hepatitis B vaccination guidelines.  Some countries want to know the number of children infected with HBV either before introducing hepatitis B vaccine birth dose or to ensure all children have access to the vaccine. Haiti and the Philippines are two such countries. Each country, as well as each WHO region they belong to, has set a goal to get rid of HBV infections.


Lana Childs accompanying the survey team
Lana Childs accompanying the survey team

As a member of the Pan-American Health Organization, Haiti’s goal is to reduce HBV infections to less than 1 out of 1000 children by 2020. Children in Haiti do not routinely receive hepatitis B vaccine birth dose .

I was part of the CDC team, along with team lead Rania Tohme and Lana Childs, that went to Haiti at the request of its Ministry of Health (MOH) to help them reach that goal by finding out how many children were infected by HBV. Lana and I trained the survey team on how to give a questionnaire and how to test the children for HBV infection. The survey team went to houses all over Haiti in November 2017. They tested 1152 children from age 5 to 8 years old for HBV infection. Haiti’s MOH can use the results from the survey to guide them on the importance of adding the hepatitis B vaccine birth dose to the recommended vaccine schedule. The overall impact of this work should increase the number of infants protected against hepatitis B.


As a member of the Western Pacific Region, the Philippines has set its goal to reduce the number of hepatitis B infections to less than 1 out 100 children. The Western Pacific Region has had the highest number of people infected with HBV in the world.

In the Philippines, the National Immunization Program (NIP) offers the hepatitis B vaccine birth dose followed by 3 doses of the hepatitis B vaccine, but not enough children receive all the vaccines. The Philippines’ NIP wanted to know how many children are infected with HBV, so they asked CDC to help them find out. I worked with WHO, NIP, and other partners to plan and carry out a survey. In summer 2018, survey teams started collecting vaccination information and testing children for HBV infection at households all over the Philippines with the goal to collect information for 2200 children ages 5 to 7 years old. The survey is projected to be completed in July 2018.

Survey team practicing blood collection
Survey team practicing blood collection

These two surveys highlight CDC’s role assisting countries find out how many children have HBV infection, and find out how well the country’s immunization program is doing to reach children with the hepatitis B vaccine. When either survey identified infected children, the survey teams advised the parents to follow-up in the nearest health facility to confirm the infection. The teams also provided parents with disease information, ways to keep the child from being further effected by HBV infection, and ways to prevent it from spreading among family members.

CDC will continue to provide technical and financial support to generate the evidence to introduce the birth dose and improve hepatitis B vaccination around the world to avoid the tragic consequences of hepatitis B as we work toward the worldwide hepatitis B 2030 elimination goal.

Posted on by Anna Akua Minta, (CDC/CGH/GID)

Community-based Surveys are Informing Local Cessation Smoking Campaigns for Indigenous Australians

Project leader Alyson Wright surveys a community member in Central Australia.

Australia is a global leader in tobacco control, with a continuous comprehensive strategy initiated in the late 1980s that includes advertising restrictions, price increases, plain packaging, and mass media campaigns. However, after three decades, limited progress has occurred with regard to smoking prevalence among Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Cigarette smoking prevalence among Read More >

Posted on by Alyson Wright, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National UniversityTags , ,

How Senegal is tracking the Silent Killer

How Senegal is tracking the Silent Killer At a packed clinic in the middle of Dakar, Senegal, a busy nurse secures a blood pressure cuff around a patient’s arm. “After I take the blood pressure, I record it here,” the nurse says enthusiastically, showing a patient treatment card to Dr. Monica LaBelle, a CDC Foundation Read More >

Posted on by Bethany Hall, MPH

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative History Project: Documenting the Eradication of Polio

L to R: Oral Historian Hana Crawford, Project Manager Mary Hilpertshauser, Archivist Laura Frizzell

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a partnership led by five organizations: the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The goal of GPEI is to eradicate polio worldwide. Based at the David Read More >

Posted on by Oral Historian Hana Crawford, Project Manager Mary Hilpertshauser, Archivist Laura FrizzellTags , , , ,

Tetanus: Eliminating the Forgotten, Deadly Disease

FETP Resident Pheobe Hilda Alitubeera searching for tetanus cases in health facility registers.

As a clinician, seeing a patient with a preventable disease like tetanus is heartbreaking. The most common signs are painful spasms of the muscles of the jaw (lockjaw) and spine. But, in the worst cases, tetanus impairs breathing, and without medical intervention, nearly 100% of patients die. Tetanus rarely occurs in the U.S. because we’ve Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Rebecca Casey, EIS Officer, Global Immunization DivisionTags , , , ,

Preventing Cervical Cancer in Cambodia: Evaluating the HPV Vaccination Demonstration Project

A nine-year old girl and her grandmother being interviewed in Svay Rieng province about her knowledge on HPV vaccine

Cervical cancer claims the lives of a quarter of a million women every year with almost nine out of ten deaths occurring in developing countries.   Cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause cancers in the mouth, throat, and reproductive tract, as well as genital warts. Safe and effective vaccines Read More >

Posted on by Julie Garon, MPH - Vaccine Introduction Team, GIDTags , , ,

Proud to Protect Burkinabè from Meningitis

A child lines up to get her routine MACV vaccination in Burkina Faso in 2017. © Evelyn Hockstein/CDC Foundation

Isaïe Medah, MD, MSc, is a physician and director general of public health in Burkina Faso. Previously he was director of the country’s routine immunization program from 2015–2017 and director of disease control from 2011–2015. Proud to Protect Burkinabè from Meningitis By Isaïe Medah, MD, MSc In a remote village of Burkina Faso, a woman Read More >

Posted on by By Isaïe Medah, MD, MScTags , , , , ,

Message from Hank Tomlinson, PhD, Acting Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB.

CDC's innovative efforts to find, cure, and prevent TB are creating a safer America and a safer world.

“We are at a key moment in the global fight against tuberculosis. Tremendous progress has been made and, yet, this preventable, curable infection still claims more lives than any other infectious disease or epidemic. As leaders come together on World TB Day and again at the United Nations High Level Meeting on TB in September, Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Hank Tomlinson

Global Health Security Agenda Programs Protect Americans from Infectious Disease Threats

Today’s world of increasing interconnectivity and mobility accelerates the shared global risk to human health and well-being. The United States cannot effectively protect the health of its citizens without addressing infectious disease threats around the world. A pathogen that begins in a remote town can reach major cities on all six continents in 36 hours[1]. Read More >

Posted on by Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS)

World Birth Defects Day 2018 Raises Global Awareness of Birth Defects

Every year, millions of babies around the world are born with a serious birth defect. In many countries, birth defects are one of the leading causes of death in babies and young children. Babies who survive and live with these conditions are at an increased risk for long-term disabilities and other health problems. The fourth Read More >

Posted on by Margaret A. Honein, Ph.D, M.P.H., Acting Director, Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental DisabilitiesLeave a commentTags ,