Proper immunization is still a problem in Nigeria. Infant mortality rate keeps rising, despite the fact that the system has procedures in place for protecting children against different diseases; which they are definitely prone to.
Various studies have shown that factors responsible for the problems faced in immunization include education regarding the issues of vaccination/immunization, occupation, cultural beliefs, parents’ age and traditions. It is imperative that the Nigerian government increase her efforts in ensuring the effectiveness of childhood immunization.
Low supply and/or non-availability of vaccine have been part of the focal reasons for the problem of low vaccination in Nigeria. An almost non-existent and/or weak primary health care system due to lack of financial backing, is another.
The culture of the people is another factor affecting child immunization uptake. It is adversely influenced by factors that include parental misperceptions, vaccine side-effects, negative outcomes from vaccination, and health-care system barriers. Also, problems of immunization could be grouped into systems barriers involving the economics and organization of the health care system, inadequate clinician knowledge about vaccines and how they are used, parent or patient barriers and logistical barriers.
Logistic barriers faced by health care providers span across the cost of immunizations, vaccine storage or capacity, and lack of access to some patients’ previous immunization records. Vaccines with specific requirements may cause challenges and fragmentation of patient care makes it more likely that providers will not have complete immunization records for patients currently in their care.
Lack of health insurance and gaps in the possession and access to relevant infrastructures are also major factors causing a barrier against immunization compliance. WHO (2010) drew attention to the behavioural factors of parents especially nursing mothers as major factors influencing immunization compliance.
In addition, health care provider barriers such as inadequate clinician knowledge about vaccines and contraindications to their use, lack of care or negligence and poor communication measures and relationship(s) between individuals and healthcare providers take front seat in immunization compliance.
Currently, there is an ongoing measles vaccination campaign for children aged 9 months to 5 years in the southern states of Nigeria.
On March 3, Dr Babatunde Ipaye, the Ogun commissioner for health, has said that the state government had procured 736,000 doses of vaccines ahead of the state wide immunisation against measles.
How popular is immunization in your area? Do you have any stories about its good or adverse effect on anyone you know or have heard of? Let’s discuss in the comments!