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Poliomyelitis immunization is a public health measure which prevents the death of children under 5years of age. Despite the benefits of this immunization, it has been reported that there is still resistance to polio immunization. It is based on this, that this study was undertaken to assess the level of acceptance of polio immunization in Kaduna State being one of the endemic States in Nigeria, This study was premised on Symbolic Interactionism and Conspiracy Theory. Survey and in-depth interviews were the techniques used for data collection. Four hundred respondents were selected and the collected data were analysed using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) version 16.0. The findings revealed that acceptance is generally high in the study area and is greatly influenced by many factors such as religion, income, educational attainment of the respondents, birth position of the children, gift as motivating factor, as well as the role of religious, community and health workers. The non-acceptance was found to be more common among the Muslims of low income status. This study recommends that detailed sensitization programme through various media facilities should be carried out periodically to emphasize the reasons for the importance of paying more attention to polio immunization.
1.1 Background of the Study
Poliomyelitis, is an infectious disease caused by poliovirus, a member of the
genus Enterovirus. There are three serotypes of poliovirus: that is, 1, 2 and 3, these
three serotypes are mainly different in their virulence. The serotype 1 is the most
virulent of the three types, while serotype 2 and 3 are more sporadic (National Primary
Health Care Development Agency, 2015). Human cells contain specific protein
receptors to which poliovirus may attach and thereby enter susceptible cells. The virus
infects cells of the oropharynx, the tonsils, the lymph nodes of the neck, and the small
intestines. Infection progresses through cycles of virus replication, resulting in
destruction of the infected cells. Once infection is established, poliovirus can enter the
bloodstream and invade the central nervous system through the blood/brain barrier, by
spreading along nerve fibers, or by both routes (WHO, 1999). When non-immune
persons are exposed to wild poliovirus (Wild Polio Virus is caused naturally and not
caused by vaccine containing live virus) the results may include inapparent infection
without symptoms, mild illness, aseptic meningitis, or paralytic poliomyelitis
The Poliovirus can be spread to others by droplets from the upper respiratory tract
during the early days of infection. More commonly, infected persons pass large
numbers of virus particles through their faeces, from where they may be spread
indirectly, or directly to infect others .
Poliomyelitis is a serious public health problem. It has persisted in a few
countries from where it has spread to a large number of countries and posed threat to
health as it did earlier between the 1950‟s and 1980‟s. In the developing world, the
disease presents a constant threat to underfives, resulting paralysis with devastating
consequences for social and economic development (Lucas and Gilles, 1990).
Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that mainly affects
children under the age of 5 years. The disease is transmitted through fecal oral route to
invade the nervous system and cause death or total paralysis in a matter of hours for
those who survive (WHO, 2003). According to Debras, Stephanie, Penny and Mia
(2005), Poliomyelitis is known to be one of the major causes of physical disability
worldwide, hence the need for its eradication. Viewed globally, vaccines are the most
cost-effective medical intervention to prevent death occurences and disease related to
poliomyelitis (World Bank, 1990). Therefore, immunization is the gateway to health
care for all children who are at the risk of this disease. The disease is of great public
health concern worldwide especially among young children under 5 years of age.
The set date by WHO for polio eradication globally was the year 2000.
However, this target was not achieved as about 3,500 cases of Wild Poliovirus were
reported worldwide in 2001 with Nigeria contributing 27 cases (WHO Nigeria, 2001).
Wild poliovirus is only endemic in six countries – Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger,
Afghanistan and Egypt. Five States within Nigeria, India and Pakistan account for more
than 75 percent of all new cases of polio worldwide and thus constitute the targets for
the global eradication of the disease. The world‟s few remaining reservoirs of the
poliovirus continue to pose significant risks due to the migration-imported polio virus,
which can spread rapidly and threaten unprotected children (WHO, 2004).
It is in response to this threat of rapid spread that the WHO in 1974 set up a special
programme known as the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) which was
adopted in Nigeria as Federal Ministry of Health policy code named National
Programme on Immunization (NPI) on 1st September, 1985. Its major objective was to
immunize all the children and particularly those under one year old against the six killer
diseases which the WHO, United Nations Children‟s Fund (UNICEF) and various
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