Full Immunization Status of Under-Five Children in an Urban Community in South-south Nigeria
Low childhood immunization coverage in urban areas in Nigeria contributes to high risk of infant and child mortality nationally. The aim of the study was to assess the percentage of children fully immunized and the associated factors in an urban area in Nigeria. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted in an urban community near a large health facility that offers immunization services. Using a structured and pretested questionnaire, all caregivers of children 12-59 months old in the community were interviewed on the immunization status of the children, verified with immunization cards where available, and the factors potentially associated with the immunization status. Of the total of 259 caregivers interviewed, 111 (42.9%) reported full immunization of their 12-59-month-old children and 27 of 74 (36.5%) gave a similar report on their 12-23-month-old children, suggesting a drop in full coverage with age. The only factor found to be associated with full vaccination of 12-59-month-old children was the employment status of caregivers: children of 31 (56.4%) unemployed caregivers compared to 80 (39.2%) employed caregivers were fully immunized (p = 0.03). Caregivers numbering 250 (96.5%) correctly stated at least one benefit of immunization. Overall, immunization coverage was low, despite accessible immunization services. Community members and household influencers should educate caregivers to ensure their children's full immunization and employers should grant work-free periods to caregivers in their employment to access immunization for their children. Further studies are required to identify more factors associated with low immunization coverage in different settings.
Keywords: Immunization; under-five mortality; urban community; employed women; Nigeria.