Evaluation of access and utilization of EPI services amongst children 12-23 months in Kwahu Afram Plains, Eastern region, Ghana
Introduction: High vaccination coverage is required to successfully control, eliminate and eradicate vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs). In Ghana, access and utilization of vaccination services is generally good with complete vaccination coverage of 77%. However, sustaining high coverages in island communities such as Kwahu Afram Plains North (KAPN) is still a challenge.
Methods: Study site and settings, an Island district. It targeted children aged 12–23 months. We used a modified WHO EPI 30 by 7 cluster sampling approach. Semi-structured questionnaires were employed for data collection. Wincosas and EpiInfo were used for data entry, management and analysis. The vaccination coverage, antigenspecific coverage calculated. The probability was set at 0.05 and the value was calculated to determine statistical significance of association.
Results: Of the 480 records of children analysed, fully vaccinated accounted 81.3%, partially 16.7% and not vaccinated at all 2.1%. Access was 97.3% and utilization 91.2% with Pentavalent 1-3 dropout rate of 8.8%. Coverage for specific antigens were: BCG (97.1%), OPV 1/Pentavalent 1/PCV 1/Rotarix 1 (97.3%), OPV2/ Pentavalent 2/PCV 2/Rotarix 2 (94.0%), OPV3/ Pentavalent3/PCV 3 (88.8%), MR (87.7%) and YF (87.7%). Vaccination card availability, higher educational level of mothers and lower parity levels were significantly associated (p < 0.05) positively with childhood vaccination status. Invalid doses were 21.6% of childhood total vaccinations. Key reasons accounting for non-vaccination were: distant place of immunization 34.4 % (31/90), mother being busy 14.4% (13/90), vaccine unavailability 10.0% (9/90) and fears of side reactions 8.9% (8/90).
Conclusion: EPI childhood vaccination coverage for January, 2016 in KAPN District was high. There is the need to focus on counteracting the reasons identified to account for vaccination failure. This would improve and sustain vaccination coverage.
Keywords: Immunization Programs, Utilization, Program Accessibility, coverage, vaccination, EPI