- One in four people chronically infected with hepatitis B will die of liver failure or liver cancer
- Approximately 278,000 people in our region die from the consequences of hep B per year
- Babies whose mothers are infected have a 90% chance of contracting hep B
- A vaccine dose at birth is the best way to prevent lifelong infection
- Almost half of the people in the world with chronic hep B infection live in the Western Pacific region (which Australia is in).
In Laos, 80% of women give birth without a skilled attendant. Less than 30% have any antenatal or postnatal care. About one in ten children die before their fifth birthday, although this number is falling. And the total government spending on health care is about US$1.90 per person. Per year.
Laos isn't going to meet the regional hepatitis B control milestone. It's not hard to see why. But in some ways, an international push for one priority can focus attention on others.
If you're interested in reading more, this is the place to do it. For the public health inclined, the paper by Rani has an interesting discussion on the motivations behind setting regional goals.