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Nydia Castillo, Registered Nurse, Postpartum Ward, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, helps newborn, Amari Hooks, get comfortable in the hands of Spc. Ashley Hooks, a petroleum supply specialist, 504th Composite Supply Company, 142nd Combat Sustainment Supply Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade, shortly after Amari received immunizations at WBAMC's Postpartum Ward, Aug. 10.

WBAMC First Texas-based DoD Hospital Recognized for Vaccination Efforts

William Beaumont Army Medical Center was recognized as the first Military Treatment Facility (MTF) in the state of Texas to be qualified for the Immunization Action Coalition’s (IAC) Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll.

According to the IAC’s website, WBAMC is also the first Army Medical Center to be recognized and the second DoD MTF to qualify. From June 2016 through June 2017, 96 percent of infants born at WBAMC were vaccinated with the hepatitis B vaccine following birth.

“We’re promoting excellence to our infants and military families,” said Maj. Laquincyia Key, clinical nurse specialist, Maternal-Child Health Services (MCHS), WBAMC. “We ensure they are educated before they leave our hospital by providing them the most up-to-date information so they can make an informed decision regarding the Hepatitis B vaccination.”

The IAC launched its Hepatitis B Honor Roll initiative in 2013 to recognizing hospitals and birthing centers for attaining high rates of hepatitis B vaccines at birth.

Mary Anderson (center), regional medical director, Department of State Health Services, presents a recognition letter to Col. Erik Rude, commander, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and Maternal-Child Health Services staff in recognition of the hospital’s efforts. Photo Credit: Marcy Sanchez

One of the main efforts leading to WBAMC’s successful hepatitis B vaccination program is due to the MTF’s whole-team approach to educating patients on the benefits and risks of vaccination.

The chances of an infant acquiring hepatitis B, through transmissions such as sexually-transmitted diseases and sharing syringes, are low so some parents delay vaccinations, said Key, a native of Jeanerette, Louisiana. The WBAMC MCHS staff takes it upon themselves to educate parents so they understand the risks involved.

“If the nurse is told ‘no,’ it’s elevated to the pediatrician. The pediatrician then counsels the patient and makes sure that the patient understands the risks of not receiving the vaccine after birth,” said Key, who spearheaded the efforts toward recognition. “It is common practice but they have the option to not vaccinate or wait for a follow up appointment.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis B is caused by a virus that attacks the liver which can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and even death. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims hepatitis B resulted in 887,000 deaths in 2015 with an estimated 257 million people living with the virus.

Because the risk of chronic infection is higher for infants and children, WHO recommends all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as early as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours, followed by a two or three-dose schedule.

In addition to educating patients, MCHS staff also began to educate within their ranks to equip staff with the knowledge necessary to inform patients and improve communication within the unit.

“We’ve always educated, now we’re just streamlining the education process and having everybody saying the same thing, everybody is getting the same information,” said Key.

Prevention of a perinatal transmission, when a mother is infected with the hepatitis B Virus (HBV), requires the administration of the hepatitis B vaccine and immune globulin to the infant within a 12-hour window after birth. To reduce the probability of perinatal transmission, the Maternal-Child staff ensures the mother’s original hepatitis B test results are present at time of delivery to prevent possible human error and ensure infants are treated properly.

William Beaumont Army Medical Center averages 150 births per month and provides high-quality, evidence-based newborn care with around-the-clock pediatricians. The hospital is in the process of receiving baby-friendly recognition as part of the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, while aiming to provide immediate skin-to-skin contact after delivery.

The facility was honored on Thursday, August 10, 2017

Author: Marcy Sanchez – William Beaumont Army Medical Center

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