Determinants of vaccination coverage among pastoralists in north eastern Kenya

  • A Unshur
  • G Kikuvi
  • M Karama


Background: Vaccination is the most cost-effective, highest-impact health intervention to reduce the morbidity and mortality of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs). Despite success in Kenya implementing the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, VPDs remain prevalent in pastoralist communities. Pastoralism was defined as raising any livestock other than fowl; nomadism was defined by seasonal movement ofanimals for grazing.

Objective: To examine the roles of geographic access and Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAPs) on vaccination coverage among settled and nomadic pastoralist households (HHs).

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Setting: Lagdera Sub-county, Garissa County, North Eastern, Kenya.

Subject: Twelve mothers were selected for interview per cluster. We used a structured instrument to survey pastoralist mothers with children aged 0–59 months old.

Results: A total of 476 eligible mothers were interviewed with 725 children; 241 mothers (50.6%) belonged to nomadic HHs while 235 (49.4%) belonged to settled HHs. Forty percent of nomadic mothers stated that vaccination was “very important” compared to 87.2% of mothers from settled HHs. Nearly 60% of mothers from nomadic HHs had never vaccinated all their children in comparison to 7.2% of mothers from settled pastoralist. The main reason for non-vaccination among mothers from nomadic HHs was “hospital or clinic was too far away” (78.6%).Analysis of the collected data revealed steep distance decay in the level of vaccine utilisation.

Conclusion: Nomadic pastoralist exhibited very low vaccination coverage than their settled counterpart.This, in turn, calls for proper policy measures for addressing these inequities.


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eISSN: 0012-835X