South African Medical Journal

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Missed opportunities for measles immunisation in selected western Cape hosl?itals

D Yach, C Metcalf, P Lachman, G Hussey, E Subotsky, R Blignaut, A.J. Flisher, HS Schaaf, N Cameron


Measles is still a major cause of childhood mortality and morbidity in South Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently recommended that greater a"ention be paid to opportunities for immunisation in the curative sector. This study quantified the extent of missed opportunities for measles immunisation in children a"ending primary, secondary and tertiary level curative hospitals in the western Cape. Exit interviews of 1 068 carers of children aged between 6 and 59 months inclusive showed that 2,4 - 40,7% of carers had been requested to produce a Road-to-Health card, and that 4,8 - 43,1% of carers had a card available. The proportion of children with documented evidence of measles immunisation available ranged from 4,8% to 40,0% between facilities. The study demonstrated that a considerable number of potential opportunities to immunise children against measles are currently being missed in children a"ending hospitals and day hospitals in the western Cape. The study documents the effect of a fragmented approach to health care, and'indicates a need for rapid integration of preventive and curative components of health care into a metropolitan-based primary health care service.

AJOL African Journals Online