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Background and Aims: There is a high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in the children under five years of age, particularly pneumonia diarrhea and which is greatly affected by low immunization coverage despite the existing efforts and policies. This study was carried out in Butaleja district and was aimed at establishing the socio-demographic determinants of vaccine coverage for pneumococcus and rotavirus among under five children (U5C) in the district.
Study Design: This was a mixed methods cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Busolwe Town Council, Butaleja District, Eastern Uganda.
Methodology: Structured researcher administered questionnaires were administered to 434 caregivers of U5C in different parts of Butaleja district. In-depth interviews with key informants and focused group discussions with Village Health Teams and community members were conducted. Review of Health Management Information Systems records was done. STATA 15 was used to analyze the data.
Results: The study found that there is a declining trend in completion of the doses of Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) and Rotavirus vaccine. For example, in quarter 1 of 2019, out of the 312 children who started immunization, only 2 completed Rota virus immunization and only 117 completed PCV vaccinations a trend that has been observed since 2016. The factors that showed a significant association with the the fact that they gave their child at least one dose of the vaccine were having been sensitized on the current immunisation schedule(P-value = <0.001), misunderstanding that vaccine is harmful for child (P-value = 0.007), willingness to take children to vaccination (P-value = <0.001), and social factors such as family (P-value = <0.030). Gender also played a key determinant role where the children’s fathers lacked knowledge on significance of immunization and thus discouraged the mothers from taking the children for immunization. Inadequate funding was also highlighted from the Focus Group Discussions.
Conclusion: Vaccine coverage for pneumococcus and rotavirus is still low in Butaleja district mainly due to the attitudes and perceptions of caregivers as well as the knowledge gap. There is need for extensive sensitization of all community members to enable them understand the significance of immunization. It would further be important to increase the funding of the immunization programme to intensify and ensure effectual outreaches as well as the establishment and enforcement of a policy for immunization compliance.
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