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1.0   Background to the Study

Generally speaking, immunization is not newly introduced in this world. This is because it was shown in history that our forefathers have their own traditional ways of immunizing themselves and their families, through the use of leaves of trees, minerals vegetable and armlet. But nowadays due to the existence and establishment of new modern health care facilities that immunization becomes modernized.

The concept of immunization or how to artificially induce the body to resist infection, received a big boost in 1796 when Edward Jenner the first world’s vaccinator, inoculated a young boy in England and successfully prevented him from getting smallpox, he also used a lancet to scratch some infected material from a woman with cowpox (similar to smallpox) under the boy’s skin. Journal list>proc (bayl univ med cent) (2005, 18(1):21-25).

Nigeria’s expanded programmed on immunization [EPI] was first initiated in 1979 and the federal government of Nigeria, through the federal ministry of health continues to place high priority on immunization. During that period the strategies used in the programmed were divided in two;


1.      Fixed post; that is by visiting general hospitals, rural health centers, dispensaries and clinics.

2.      Mobile team; that is by moving from one settlement to another. The aim and objectives of this programmed is to reduce diseases like; tuberculosis, measles, whooping, cough, pertisus, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria and child mortality rate. It was sponsored by donor agencies such as WHO, UNICEF, and World bank.

In 1995 WHO, UNICEF, AND WORLD BANK withdrew their active support for immunization and therefore departments were created at federal, state and local governments. The programmed was also renamed as; National Programmed on Immunization (NPI). Public health reports (2013; 112(1): 10-20).

In 1996 the campaign for eradication of polio started all over the country with northern part of the country being the main focus area, but taboo, cultural beliefs and attitude hindered the successful achievement of the program in most parts of the country of which Kebbi State is one. In Birnin kebbi Local Government areas such taboos and beliefs are actually affect the realization of the goals of the program. Such these taboos and beliefs are: illiteracy, religious beliefs, traditional beliefs, seeing it as a way of reducing fecundity and poor component of health personnel. But reducing the rate of family and religious beliefs are the most serious problems that affected the immunization programmed in that area.


In developed, developing and under developed nations of the world including Africa, Asia, Brazil, India, China, Japan, and Latin America, the implementation of large-scale application of immunization programmed has been remarkably successful in eliminating the prevalence of infectious diseases. For example in U.S childhood immunization is now a vital component of health [Mark and Darden 1999].

Since 1996 the concept of immunization as a method of diseases prevention has gained broad acceptance in Africa and Asia. Despite these advances, however, the diseases that are preventable through immunization still remain a major public health problem in Nigeria.

In 1995, a single disease among them (measles) claimed the lives of an estimated 1.2 million children and infected more than 45 million people. At the end of the twentieth century researches discovered that in the developing nations more than 3 million children still die annually from measles, neonatal tetanus and other diseases, while more than a quarter of a million children are crippled by poliomyelitis (WHO, 1995B).

However today in Nigeria there is improvement in medical facilities and health services and the rate of child and maternal mortality is reducing in our societies. The children considered adequately immunized against measles after receiving one dose of vaccine, (UNICEF, 2010).


It is against this background that, the research seeks to examine the impact of cultural beliefs on successful achievement of immunization programmed in Birnin Kebbi local government area of Kebbi State.

1.1   Statement of the Problem

Immunization has been a great area of controversies, complain and debate over the efficacy safety and mortality of compulsory immunization stem from other side, cultural beliefs influenced people to seeing immunization programs as hampering the demographic and social progress.

However, despite the existence of many campaigns aimed at enhancing the people’s attitudes to relevance of immunization program in rural areas, the following appear to be the problems faced by the immunization campaign;

1.   The spread rumors that, an immunization program is a way of reducing the rate of family members.

2.     Lack of skilled and well trained health personnel with broad prospective and knowledge on how to address the matter on the relevance of immunization program.

3.  Illiteracy and conservative attitudes of people toward immunization program.

4.  Lack of orientation to our Muslim scholars toward immunization program.


5.   Incompetent health person-nel in the area is also among the problem that affects the immunization program in Birnin Kebbi local government area, [Warraich, H.J 2009].

But the level of illiteracy remain a major problem, mothers attitude and beliefs, lack of orientation by our Muslim scholars, ignorance, conservative attitude and lack of health facilities, incompetent health personnel in the area are also other problem that affects the immunization programmed in Birnin Kebbi local government area, (CDC 2014).

Mallam Muhammad Mustapha (interviewee) who spoke on the reason why they reject the vaccine for their children had this to say: “the government has never done anything free pertaining to our health in Birnin Kebbi’’ and with one interviewee house hold in Ambursa developing area during the immunization exercise was reported to have said: “we are waiting the government to provide drugs for malaria, diarrhea for us, give us good drinking water and alleviate poverty, Olajide 2014.

Reacting to these complains of people, the health educator of Birnin Kebbi local government areas, Alh. Musa Na Allah said “the problem is more than what people saying”. He described the resistance to immunization as a problem of illiteracy; however, we are resolving the issue of non compliance through educating them house to house.

1.2    Research Question

1. How have cultural beliefs affected immunization in Birnin Kebbi local government areas?


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