Seroprevalence of hepatitis B among pregnant women in Kigali, Rwanda

Mochama M. Nyamusi, Onesmus T. Marete, Wilson R. Waweru


Background: Hepatitis B virus belongs to the family Hepadnaviridae. It is the commonest cause of chronic viral hepatitis. It is responsible for up to 80% of primary liver cancers. Despite the existence of a safe and effective vaccine, HBV infections still remain a global public health problem. Pregnant women who are carriers of the virus pose a significant risk to their unborn babies. Early diagnosis in this group can provide an avenue for prevention of mother to child transmission which will in turn lead to a reduction in the number of chronic carriers who act as a source of new infections.

Methods: The study was a multicenter, hospital based cross-sectional study. Data collection was using a questionnaire-guided interview followed by HBsAg determination using SD bioline test device. Data entry and statistical analysis was done using SPSS version 16. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: The prevalence of Hepatitis B among pregnant women in Kigali is 3.1%.The study findings also indicated that the mean age of the participants was 28.03 years with a standard deviation of 5.6 years. Majority of the women (37.4%) were between 25 and 29 years. About two thirds of the recruited women resided in urban area while a third was from rural area. Most of the women (61.3%) had attained primary level formal education with only a few with tertiary level education (7.9%). 6% of them had no formal education. Majority of these women (95%) were in marriage unions a majority of which were monogamous.   

Conclusions: The findings indicate an intermediate endemicity of HBV among the pregnant women in Kigali at 3.1% prevalence, the lowest among the East African countries. This is among the first Hepatitis B prevalence studies among the pregnant women, hence it provides baseline data that can be useful in contributing to knowledge of the disease characteristics, stimulate further research on the disease and also contribute to informing policy on control measures.


Hepatitis B, Hepadnaviridae

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