Introduction of birth dose of hepatitis B virus vaccine to the immunization program in Ethiopia: An economic evaluation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation. 2020, 18, 23 10.1186/s12962-020-00219-7
Background Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality with a very high burden in Africa. The risk of developing chronic infection is marked if the infection is acquired perinatally, which is largely preventable through a birth dose of HBV vaccine. We examined the cost-effectiveness of a birth dose of HBV vaccine in a medical setting in Ethiopia. Methods We constructed a decision analytic model with a Markov process to estimate the costs and effects of a birth dose of HBV vaccine (the intervention), compared with current practices in Ethiopia. Current practice is pentavalent vaccination (DPT-HiB-HepB) administered at 6, 10 and 14 weeks after birth. We used disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted to quantify the health benefits while the costs of the intervention were expressed in 2018 USD. Analyses were based on Ethiopian epidemiological, demographic and cost data when available; otherwise we used a thorough literature review, in particular for assigning transition probabilities. Results In Ethiopia, where the prevalence of HBV among pregnant women is 5%, adding a birth dose of HBV vaccine would present an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of USD 110 per DALY averted. The estimated ICER compares very favorably with a willingness-to-pay level of 0.31 times gross domestic product per capita (about USD 240 in 2018) in Ethiopia. Our ICER estimates were robust over a wide range of epidemiologic, vaccine effectiveness, vaccine coverage and cost parameter inputs. Conclusions Based on our cost-effectiveness findings, introducing a birth dose of HBV vaccine in Ethiopia would likely be highly cost-effective. Such evidence could help guide policymakers in considering including HBV vaccine into Ethiopia’s essential health services package.