Immunization can be defined as the process of protecting an individual from disease through the introduction of a live, killed or partial component of the invading organism into the individual’s system (Standhope and Lancaster, 2009). A person who is immune to a disease is one who is protected against that disease by means of antibodies circulating in his or her blood or present in the cells of the tissues of his or her body (Fagbamide, 2010).
In developing countries such as Nigeria, children between the ages of 0-2 years die at alarming rates while some are disabled for life as a result of their encounter with one or more communicable childhood diseases which include Tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles and poliomyelitis that could have been easily prevented by immunization (Sorungbe, 2010).
Nigeria started active immunization against the common childhood diseases as far back as 1978 about the same time the World Health Organization set a thirteen years target for the eradication and curtailment of childhood diseases by establishing the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), which is also known as National Programme on Immunization (NPI) in 1974 (Brandt, 1982).
However, within eleven years of starting the immunization campaign in Nigeria, it was found that besides other problems of logistics and coordination, the scheme was unattractive because of superstitions built around immunization, thus adding as a burden the task of convincing many Nigerians about the advantages of immunization (Sadoh and Eregie, 2009). In a study by Babalola and Adewuyi, (2011), myths, rumors, ignorance and suspicion where highlighted as major factors found to hinder immunization Programme in Nigeria. In the sample, 16% believed that diseases are caused by evil spirit, witchcraft and heat while mothers who participated in the study bemoans sickness, travel time, and, unavailability of needed vaccines at primary health care centers as factors frustrating them from either participating in the Programme or completing the immunization process while a few mentioned religious issues such as purdah (Babalola and Adewuyi, 2011).
The problems of communicable childhood diseases and their consequences on many Nigerian children indicate a gloomy scenario that necessitates the expansion of the immunization programme in Nigeria. Despite the efforts of the Nigerian government and non-governmental organizations, many mothers are not complying with the immunization programme (Goodman et al, 2009). However this study is aimed at assessing mother’s knowledge on immunization programme, their attitude towards the programme and factors influencing their attitude.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In developing countries, an estimated four million unimmunized children dies from vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) before their first birthday while another four million children are affected by preventable physical or mental disability caused by one or more of the six known childhood diseases (Bundt and Hu, 2004). Immunization rates in northern Nigeria are some of the lowest in the world (NPI/UNICEF, 2003). According to the 2003 National Immunization Schedule, the percentage of fully immunized infants in targeted states was less than 1% in Jigawa, 1.5% in Yobe, 1.6% in Zamfara and 8.3% in Katsina (NPI/UNICEF, 2003). As a result, thousands of children are victims of vaccine-preventable diseases despite continuous efforts of both government and non-governmental organizations in creating awareness on the immunization programme. Many mothers in these region do not complying with the immunization programme as they ought to either due to superstitious believes, religious problem or laxity; thus endangering the life of infants and increasing mortality rate from childhood diseases.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
Specific objectives of this study include:
- To evaluate the level of participation and knowledge on community based immunization programme among mothers in rural communities.
- To evaluate the attitude of mothers towards the immunization programme.
- To proffer recommendations on possible ways of creating more awareness and sensitization on the importance of the immunization programme.
Routine immunization has proven to be one of the most cost-effective interventions for reducing childhood illness and mortality (WHO, 2012). Therefore Information obtained from this study will help managers of immunization programme in Nigeria to understand better the reasons for non- compliance encountered in some part of Nigeria. This will help vaccinators improve and understand better the mind of the people towards the programme.
This study attempt to provide answer to the following research questions
- What are the respondent’s level of knowledge about the immunization programme and their frequency of participation?
- What are the factors limiting mother’s participation in the immunization programme?
- What are the possible ways immunization programme can be improved?
SCOPE OF STUDY
This study is restricted to mothers who reside in the study area. The questionnaire method of research was the only too used for the study.
In executing this project, illiteracy on the part of the respondents was a problem encountered as some respondents could not read while those who could read were not able to understand some questions in the questionnaire. Some sections of the questions were also left unmarked by some respondents while some fail to return their questionnaire at the end of the research. Also financial constrains were part of problems encountered as the study area was far to locate thus increasing transport fare.
- Knowledge: knowledge here refers to the awareness of a particular fact or situation or a state of being informed or made aware of something.
- Vaccine: A vaccine is any preparation intending to produce immunity to a disease by stimulating the production of antibodies.
- Immunity: Immunity refers to the resisting power of the body to fight against invading microorganisms.
- Immunization: Immunization is the process by which an individual’s immune system becomes fortified against an agent known as immunogen.
- Vaccination: injection of a killed microbe in order to stimulate the immune system against the microbe thereby preventing disease.