Utilization of Immunization Services among Children Aged Under Five in Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Njeri, Margaret Wangui
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Immunization is a key approach that can be successfully employed to reduce deaths and illnesses among children. Immunization presently averts an estimated 3 million deaths annually for children aged under five. Kenya Expanded Program on immunization has a stipulated immunization schedule guideline that should be adhered to for effective utilization of immunization services for improved health outcome. The study was prompted by the alarming statistics on morbidities related to vaccine preventable diseases in a County where there has been a lot of intervention on immunization services. The main objective of the study was to investigate utilization of immunization services among children aged under five in Kirinyaga County, Kenya. The specific objectives were to assess the level of utilization of immunization services, establish the social-demographic factors associated with immunization services, determine health service factors influencing immunizing services and assess family factors associated with utilization of immunization services. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in the community among 388 participants in the five sub-counties of Kirinyaga County. This was done through systematic random sampling of every 9th household. The respondents were interviewed through structured questionnaires. Children immunization record card was assessed for data entry. Data was analyzed by Social Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). Descriptive findings were presented in tables and bar graphs while inferential statistics used chi-square test to measure association between independent and dependent variables. P- Values equal to or less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant. The results showed that utilization of immunization services was not in compliance with the National Child Immunization Schedule that ensures maximum protection from vaccine preventable diseases. Measles 2 vaccine the last antigen in the schedule administered at 18 months had 58%. A confidence interval of 95% was adopted thus setting significant thresholds at 0.05 implying any threshold less than 0.05 was significant in affecting utilization of childhood immunization. The results indicated that socio- demographic factors such as age, gender, educational level, income levels had p values(p<0.005) and were all significant factors that affected timely utilization of childhood immunization. Religion was found to have no effect on utilization and had p values (p>0.005) The health service factors such as waiting time, stock out of vaccine, rescheduling of vaccine and return dates had p values (p<0.05) and were all significant factors that affect Utilization of immunization services negatively. Distance was found to have no effect on utilization (p>0.05) The study established that family factors had a strong statistical significant relation with utilization of immunization services such as myths and misconception, side effects, parity, sick children and lack of information and had p values (p<0.05). Birth order (p>0.005) was found to have no effect on utilization of immunization services. The Conclusion was that the levels of performance antigens was below the recommended target by WHO of 85%. It was recommended that health education program be carried out to improve utilization of immunization services and door to door campaign to trace and immunize defaulters.