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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The immunization of a new born child is a very important way of preventing illness considering the way common diseases that claimed the life of children. According to Oichl and Datrymple (2009) when more than 50% of a community population are immunized against a disease, the possibility of epidemic is removed. Supporting this view, Ogbuibe (2005) pointed out that the entry point to be fill introduction of all elements of primary health care system, immunization against diseases in one of the fairly they elements of the child’s survival and development. The national programme of immunization was for certain target groups of the population mainly children within the large group of 0-2 years and pregnant mothers or women. It is target against the six deadly and childhood diseases. These diseases are tuberculosis, measles, poliomyelitis, tetanus, chicken pox and whooping cough. The high rate of mortality from disease preventable by immunization underscores the need for immunization was the most effective programme to reduce these diseases for which satisfactory immunization procedures have been established.
When a disease is peculiar to certain area, health authorities may recommend immunization of all persons in that area particularly those who are likely to be exposed to it. To buttress this view, Anderson (2000) suggested that mass immunization against typhoid fever is not advocated but if an epidemic occurs in a community, health authorities may implore all susceptible persons to be immunized. The success of any immunization programme depends largely on the target population. It is pertinent to note that mothers are the persons in the issues of the children rearing pattern in our society whereby the mothers rather than fathers are the home keepers and know better about their children’s immunization status. Therefore, all children should be protected. All mothers should understand the importance of immunization to ensure this, Sohem (2005) recommended the vaccination of all new born children should be registered at all health clinics for routine immunization. This entails that they should undergo all stages of immunization.
According to the oxford advanced learners dictionary (2004), immunization is the process of protecting an individual or animal from a disease especially by giving them an injection or a vaccine. Immunization is also defined as a process by which human beings protect themselves from, or against deadly diseases such as poliomyelitis, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, vaccination is also another name for immunizing living things against deadly diseases. Immunization is done to make the body resist invasion of pathogenic microbes like bacteria, protozoa and virus. In immunization, a small quantity of a dead parasitic organism is injected into the body of a healthy person (somebody that is free from that parasite organism), the body recognized the antigen as foreign response by realizing specialized protein called antibodies. These antibodies have specific protective properties and the body become immune against the disease that are caused by micro-organisms. Immunization can be active, positive, natural, or acquired.
Immunization is the act of protecting someone against a disease by the intake of inoculation of vaccine or other protective agents which stimulate natural body resistance. It could be active or passive. Immunization is the active which involves administering agents which stimulates the receivers’ own immunological mechanism who responds by producing reactions in his resistance to infect by the organisms from which the antigen was derived or obtained. This takes several weeks to produce effective protection hence, it has a prophylactic value but last forever. On the other hand, immunization is said to be passive by the giving of already made anti-bodies formed by another lost in response to natural injection. This has immediate protective and therapeutic value but last for a short period.
Parent especially the mothers in question do not get their children immunized. The superstition belief or idea that disease are caused by witches and wizards are strongly rooted in their mind, some believes that diseases are caused by evil spirit and the only way out for them to avoid it is by offering sacrifice and some believe that it is the sin that the parents have committed towards the gods that make the child to be like that and there is no solution to the sickness of the child.
Some parent know where and how to obtain it but do not take their children to the clinic for immunization while others that made attempts to take their children to the clinic for immunization may start and will not complete the normal dose they are supposed to give to that child. In a particular health center, i.e. Ikpoba Okha Health center in Edo State, between January 2007 to December 2010, fifty six thousand six hundred and forty two (56,642) children were registered for different types of immunization. Out of these only thirty four thousand six hundred and twenty two (34, 622) children completed their immunization, the remaining twenty two thousand and twenty (22,020) fall to complete their immunization. Some mothers later brought their children to complete their immunization after a long time. When they asked them why they did not bring their children ever since, the most population reason they gave was that, they were not chanced due to their jobs. They devoted much time to their jobs e.g. trading, government workers etc others said they came several times but in most occasions, the nurses asked them to go home that the health of their babies was poor.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The decision to carry out the study was due to the problem associated with immunization of children among the illiterate mothers in Nigeria. In the past, many children died before the age of 5 or before the school age due to communicable diseases e.g. tuberculosis, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, whooping cough, measles, tetanus etc. they did not know that these disease could be prevented. These communicable disease were discovered by scientific researcher, clinics are established where the disease can be prevented by treatment. Many people are not still making use of the clinic and health center, perhaps due to ignorance, inability of mothers to get the facilities or non-availability of vaccine or lack of understanding.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This research work is an attempt to study the attitude of mothers towards immunization most especially among illiterate mothers in Nigeria. The purpose of this study is to:
i) To find out why mothers refused to bring their children for immunization
ii) To know why some mothers started but refuse to complete the normal schedule
iii) To know or find out how many children register in the clinic and health center for the immunization during the period of January 2010 to December 2010.
iv) To know the number of children who started the immunization and completed the normal schedule
v) To know the number of children that started the immunization but refuse to complete it.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is expected to be of great importance to parents and the general public in Nigeria who will appreciate the implication of the problem of immunization and know the best way to handle them. The study conducted was done to aid the following group of people.
i) The mothers
ii) The health center
iii) Ministry of health, Edo State.
The Mothers: The mother will be advice properly on what they should do. The information gathered will be of great importance which may change mother’s attitudes towards immunization programme.
The health center: The suggestion made will be used as a source of correction measure to health persons on one way or the other may have contributed to the lukewarm attitude of mothers when they bring their children for immunization through health education and lack of follow up visit to trace defaulters.
Ministry of health: The findings may serve as a clue for Ministry of health to make better plan by making of health to make better plan by making adequate provision of vaccine and training more people into the health sector to promote child immunization in Nigeria.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Based on the assumption made, the following research questions are postulated.
1. Does ignorance of mothers contribute to their attitude towards immunization?
2. Does lack of immunization lead to death of children?
3. Do mother get actively involved and delighted in the immunization of the children?
4. Does the behaviour of health workers affect mothers in the immunization of their children?
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This is restricted to the attitude of mothers towards immunization in some selected health centers in Nigeria. The sample population is made up of mothers who were selected by simple random process.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Health: The state of wellbeing physically and mentally.
Health Center: A building where group of doctors, nurses and health workers see their patients.
Mothers: A female parent of a child.
Child: A young human who is not yet an adult.
Immunization: To protect a person or an animal from disease or an animal from disease especially by giving them an injection or a vaccine.
Fully immunized: The child was considered fully immunized if he/she received one dose each of BCG and measles and three doses of DPT and polio (apart from zero dose of polio at birth) by his /her 1st birthday. Partially immunized: Those who had missed only one vaccine out of the six primary vaccines.
Unimmunized: Those children who had received nil vaccine up to their first birthday.
Measles: An infectious disease especially of children that cause fever and small red spots that cover the whole body.
Tuberculosis: A serious infectious disease in which swellings appear on the lungs and other part of the body.
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