Tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant problem worldwide. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunisation is used in many countries as part of their TB control programme. The efficacy of BCG immunisation in preventing TB in adults is unclear, but its efficacy in preventing serious extrapulmonary disease in infants is widely accepted.
Selective neonatal BCG immunisation is one strategy used in New Zealand for controlling TB with the specific aim of reducing the risk of severe, disseminated disease in young children. The target groups were last reviewed in 2002 and a goal of 80% coverage by 2005 was set for high-risk infants.
Dr Jillian Sherwood, a Public Health Medicine Registrar, conducted this review of neonatal BCG immunisation services in New Zealand in 2006 to describe the current BCG immunisation services and methods of delivery offered and to identify any imbalance between current policy and services.