Prevalence of hepatitis B infection in women delivering at a community health centre in Dili, Timor-Leste and discussion of programmatic challenges

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Abstract

Background

Limited data regarding prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection in Timor-Leste exist.

Methods

An observational study of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) results of women delivering at Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili, Timor-Leste was carried out.

Results

Of the 781 women included in the study, 80.5% (626/777) of women who had accessed antenatal care had been tested for HBsAg, of whom 2.2% (14/626) were positive. Of the remaining women, 83.2% (129/155) received a test at the time of delivery, of whom 5.4% (7/129) were positive. Overall prevalence of HBsAg positivity was 2.8% (21/755).

Conclusions

Further studies are urgently needed to establish the prevalence of HBV infection in Timor-Leste, particularly in pregnant women. Findings from this study suggest that routine HBV immunisation of newborns should be instituted promptly.

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