*Department of Preventive Medicine, Eulji University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea.
†Eastern Region Public Health Division, Koforidua, Ghana.
‡Asesewa Government Hospital and Upper Manya Krobo District Health Administration, Asesewa, Ghana.
§Yilo Krobo District Health Administration, Somanya, Ghana.
∥Holy Family Hospital and Kwahu West District Health Administration, Nkawkaw, Ghana.
¶Translational Research Division, International Vaccine Institute, Seoul, Korea.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and risk factors for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity in pregnant Ghanaian women.
We surveyed 1,500 pregnant women in Eastern region of Ghana. Direct interviews were performed by trained nurses using standardized questionnaires. Pregnant women were screened for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B infections, hemoglobin levels and sickle cell anemia as part of the antenatal check-up.
The overall HBsAg positive rate was 10.6%, which varied among districts (13.8% for Kwahu West, 12.4% for Upper Manya, and 2.2% for Yilo Krobo). HBsAg positivity was significantly higher in women with depression (odds ratio [OR], 3.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.13 to 6.57) and HIV (OR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.06 to 3.89). Age, education, and gravidity were not related to HBsAg positivity. Anti-hepatitis B immunoglobulin for newborns of HBsAg-positive mothers is not provided at birth in public health facilities in Ghana. However, hepatitis B vaccination is provided as part of a routine vaccination schedule starting at 6 weeks of age.
To prevent mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B, screening tests for HBsAg in pregnant women and hepatitis B vaccination of newborns immediately after birth need to be performed in this region.