Hepatitis B is a highly infectious virus that is transmitted almost 100 times more effectively than HIV/AIDS. It attacks the liver and is a major cause of liver cancer. It kills more than 500,000 people a year globally.
Indonesia-the world's fourth most populous country-is the world's first to use Uniject devices filled with hepatitis B vaccine on a nationwide scale. In parts of Indonesia, as much as 70 percent of the population have been infected with hepatitis B virus. The new program is the result of intense collaboration between the Indonesian government and the Children's Vaccine Program (CVP), part of a Seattle-based non-governmental organization, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH).
"By providing hepatitis B in Uniject, Indonesia is making injections safer while also increasing access to the vaccine," said Mark Kane, director of PATH's Children's Vaccine Program. "We are excited to be part of an effort that stands ready to reach nearly five million newborns every year-including some four million born outside of hospitals."
In order to vaccinate all these children against hepatitis B within the
first week of life, the Indonesian government, with help from CVP, is
beginning a birth-dose training program this month for 60,000
Contact: Ellen Wilson