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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.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Immunization remains one of the most important public health interventions and a cost effective strategy to reduce both the morbidity and mortality associated with communicable diseases. Over two million deaths are prevented through immunization each
year worldwide1. Despite this, vaccine preventable diseases remain the most common cause of childhood mortality with an estimated 3
million deaths each year2. Uptake of vaccination services depends not only on provision of the services but also on other factors including knowledge and attitude of mothers3,4, density of health
workers5, accessibility of vaccination centres and availability of safe needles and syringes.
Nigeria like many countries in Africa is making efforts to strengthen its health system especially routine immunization so as to reduce disease burden from vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs).
In 1979, Nigeria’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) was initiated6 (though created in 1974 by WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International as partners). It was relaunched in 1984 due to
poor coverage7. In 1996 it became the National Programme on Immunization (NPI). Following a review of EPI Decree 12 of 1997, NPI was made a parastatal.
• NPI has a sole responsibility of supervising and enhancing routine and supplemental immunization activities in Nigeria.
• Routine immunization (RI) is provided largely through the public health system, with significant variation between the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In Anambra State, private or NGO providers are the source of up to one
third of RI in Anambra State8.
Public sector provision is by health staff based at facilities run by the 21 Local Government areas (LGAs), the General hospitals run by the state government and the tertiary institution run by the federal government.
There is also supplemental immunizations done periodically in the state in the form of National Immunization days (NIDs), local immunization days (LIDs), immunization plus days (IPDs) and
child health week all aimed at boosting immunization coverage and mopping up and reaching every child (including those not already reached) irrespective of their immunization status.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Globally, 2.5million children die every year from easily preventable infectious diseases. In the year 2000, measles resulted in 777,000
deaths and 2 million disabilities9. The expanded programme on immunization (EPI) when introduced experienced some initial success. However a few years after its inception, it became obvious that it was no longer achieving its stated objectives and had to be relaunched in 1984.
Nigeria attained universal childhood immunization (UCI) with 81.5 percent coverage for all antigens in 1990, but the success was not to last long and by 1996, immunization coverage had declined substantially to less than 30 percent for DPT-3 and 21 percent for the doses of oral polio virus (OPV).
The situation had continued worsening, that presently the coverage rates of the various childhood vaccines in Nigeria are among the lowest in the world.
The above scenario has been playing itself out in Anambra State. Anambra State has continued to witness fluctuation in immunization coverage for all vaccine preventable diseases with its attendant increase in the incidence of the diseases. Data from the 2008 National Immunization Coverage Survey shows that only about 23 percent of children aged 12-23 months received full immunization nationally, though this is almost double the value of 13% from the 2003 figure.
1.3 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
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