AUTHOR: DR. ONALU, KANAYO NICHOLAS
DEPARTMENT: COMMUNITY MEDICINE
AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA
Childhood immunization is a cost effective public health strategy. Expanded Programme on immunization (EPI) services have been provided in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State mainly through the health facilities in the LGA. The objective of this survey was to assess vaccination coverage and its determinants in this rural suburb in Nigeria. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in October 2010, which included the use of interviewer-administered questionnaire to assess knowledge of mothers of children aged 12-23 months on childhood immunization and vaccination coverage of the children. Survey participants were selected using a multistage sampling method. Vaccination coverage was assessed by vaccination card and material history. A child was said to be fully vaccinated if he or she had received all the following vaccines: a dose of BCG, three doses of OPV and DPT, and one dose of measles by the time he or she was enrolled in the survey. Person chi-square (x2) test was performed to identify determinants of full immunization status. 250 mothers and 250 children (each mother had one eligible child) were included in the survey. 80 (32%) of the children were fully immunized while 112 (44.8%) were not immunized from the vaccination cards while with maternal history 86 (34.4%) were fully immunized, though this difference was not statistically significant P = 0.210 45 (26.5%) of 170 children who defaulted had visited a health facility since their last vaccination or since they attained appropriate age. Majority of the children 109 (43.6%) received their vaccination in Public health facilities. Chi-square test showed that mothers educational status (P = 0.004), religious denomination (P = 0.019) and child’s problem after immunization P = 0.012 were significantly associated with under immunization. It is therefore concluded that despite all the efforts made by the government, the vaccination coverage in this rural suburb is still at a level that does not provide high protection (80%) against DPT/ OPV and even measles. To improve on the low immunization coverage, attention should be paid to female education, health education, capacity building of the immunization service providers and supportive supervision.
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Tags: contraindications to immunization, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), Factors that influence Immunization Coverage, Immunization, Immunization in Nigeria, Missed opportunity, Public Health Thesis 2010, vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs), vaccine safety