Prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus infection and infrastructure for its diagnosis in Madagascar: Implication for the WHO's elimination strategy

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Background: WHO developed a global strategy to eliminate hepatitis B by 2030 and set target to treat 80% of people with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection eligible for antiviral treatment. As a first step to achieve this goal, it is essential to conduct a situation analysis that is fundamental to designing national hepatitis plans. We therefore estimated the prevalence of chronic HBV infection, and described the existing infrastructure for HBV diagnosis in Madagascar. Methods: We conducted a stratified multi-stage serosurvey of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in adults aged ≥18 years using 28 sentinel surveillance sites located throughout the country. We obtained the list of facilities performing HBV testing from the Ministry of Health, and contacted the person responsible at each facility. Results: A total of 1778 adults were recruited from the 28 study areas. The overall weighted seroprevalence of HBsAg was 6.9% (95% CI: 5.6-8.6). Populations with a low socio-economic status and those living in rural areas had a significantly higher seroprevalence of HBsAg. The ratio of facilities equipped to perform HBsAg tests per 100,000 inhabitants was 1.02 in the capital city of Antananarivo and 0.21 outside the capital. There were no facilities with the capacity to perform HBV DNA testing or transient elastography to measure liver fibrosis. There are only five hepatologists in Madagascar. Conclusion: Madagascar has a high-intermediate level of endemicity for HBV infection with a severely limited capacity for its diagnosis and treatment. Higher HBsAg prevalence in rural or underprivileged populations underlines the importance of a public health approach to decentralize the management of chronic HBV carriers in Madagascar by using simple and low-cost diagnostic tools.




Andriamandimby, S. F., Olive, M. M., Shimakawa, Y., Rakotomanana, F., Razanajatovo, I. M., Andrianinarivomanana, T. M., … Héraud, J. M. (2017). Prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus infection and infrastructure for its diagnosis in Madagascar: Implication for the WHO’s elimination strategy. BMC Public Health, 17(1).

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