Original Article

Immunisation services in North‑Eastern Nigeria: Perspectives of critical stakeholders to improve uptake and service delivery

Semeeh A. Omoleke, Babatunji A. Omotara, Adewale L. Oyeyemi, Omeiza Beida, Samuel O. Etatuvie
Journal of Public Health in Africa | Vol 14, No 11 | a48 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.1807 | © 2024 Semeeh A. Omoleke, Babatunji A. Omotara, Adewale L. Oyeyemi, Omeiza Beida, Samuel O. Etatuvie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 March 2024 | Published: 30 November 2023

About the author(s)

Semeeh A. Omoleke, World Health Organization, Abuja, Nigeria
Babatunji A. Omotara, Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria
Adewale L. Oyeyemi, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria
Omeiza Beida, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Kaduna, Nigeria
Samuel O. Etatuvie, Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency, Lagos, Nigeria

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Abstract

We investigated the perspectives of parents, health workers (HWs) and traditional medical practitioners (TMPs) on immunisation advocacy, knowledge, attitudes and immuni‑ sation practice and ways of improving immunisation uptake in Borno State, North‑eastern Nigeria. A cross‑sectional study analysing quantitative data from the three stakeholders' categories. It was conducted across 18 local government areas of Borno State. A representative sample of 4288 stakeholders (n=1763 parents, n=1707 TMPs, and n=818 HWs aged 20 to 59years, had complete data. The sample has more males: 57.8% (Parents); 71.8% (TMPs) and 57.3% (HWs). The awareness of immunisation schedule among the stakeholders ranged from 87.2 to 93.4%. The study showed that 67.9% of the parent and 57.1% of the health workers had participated in immunisation except the TMPs (27.8%). Across the stake‑ holders' categories, between 61.9 and 72.6% have children who had Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI). The most common AEFI was fever. Safety concerns, preference for herbs and charm, culture and religions, and vaccination perception as a western culture were the major barriers to immunisation uptake. While 63.6 to 95.7% of respondents indicated that community leaders, religious and spiritual leaders and TMPs should be involved in immunisation advo‑ cacy, 56.9‑70.4% of them reported that community leaders should be involved in immunisation policy. Upscaling the critical stakeholders' involvement in advocacy, policy devel‑ opment and implementation of immunization activities may improve acceptance, create demand and engender ownership in vulnerable communities of Borno State, Nigeria. AEFI could be detrimental to immunisation access and utilization. Consequently, health education by health workers needs strengthening to minimise vaccine hesitancy.

Keywords

vaccine; immunisation uptake; stakeholders; boko haram insurgency; Borno State; Nigeria

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