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THE IMPACT OF NATIONAL PROGRAMME ON IMMUNIZATION ON THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN IN IKONO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

THE IMPACT OF NATIONAL PROGRAMME ON IMMUNIZATION ON THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN IN IKONO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA 

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ABSTRACT

This descriptive study aimed to examine the impact of national programme on immunization on the health of children and pregnant women in Ikono Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. To guide the study, three objectives were set thus: To assess the knowledge of mothers toward national immunization programme; to identify the factors affecting effective utilization of immunization programme; and to determine the benefits of National Programme on Immunization on the health of children and pregnant women in Ikono Local Government Area.

Research questions were also formulated and related literatures were reviewed based on the set objectives. The sample size of 100 respondents was selected using simple random sampling technique. The main instrument for data collection was questionnaire. Data collected were analysed using simple percentages and were presented in tables. Findings revealed that, mothers were aware of national programme on immunization for children and pregnant women. Findings revealed several factors influencing the utilization of national programme on immunization.

Finding also revealed the benefits of national programme on immunization on the health of children and pregnant mothers. Based on these findings, conclusion was drawn and recommendations were made among others that Government should provide adequate facilities with constant electricity to sustain the potency of the vaccine at any given time, and that health workers should create awareness on national immunization programme, especially in the rural area to erase certain beliefs and misconceptions about immunization. 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background to the Study

Health is both a responsibility as well as right. It is the responsibility of those with power and the right of those without power. Health is more than just the absence of disease or infirmity. The promotion of health is a social and political as well as individual responsibility. It has been seen that some five million children are dying each year and other five are disabled by six-childhood killer diseases in some developing countries including Nigeria.

Protecting the health and development of children and pregnant women is a long term contribution to the growth and development of the country as a whole. One of the important factors for achieving this is through National Immunization Programme (Beigi, 2012).

According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2014), “immunization is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine”. Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year.

It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. It has clearly defined target groups; it can be delivered effectively through outreach activities; and vaccination does not require any major lifestyle change (WHO, 2014).

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Before the 1980s, immunization was not a welcome development. People were not interested, especially, the rich; they thought that immunization programme is for the poor and the sick. Rarely did they find prominent people coming or bringing their children for routine immunization. They felt, since they have the money, they could buy their children any sort of good food, and that’s okay for them.

Some bluntly refused to have immunization on the ground of religion, ill health, beliefs, myths and misinformation. Others believed that oral vaccine (OPV) contained HIV virus and family planning contraceptive that could render their children sterile. Some people also thought it was a way of introducing sickness into the child because of the after effect of immunization (fever and pains). This is obvious that many people were ignorant about immunization programmes and as such, children were dying of these six-childhood killer diseases (Griffin and Edwards, 2011).

The epidemiology bulletin by Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH, 2012) reported that 120/1000 children born in Nigeria died from childhood diseases before they reach the age of one. Also, a large proportion of those who survived become disabled for life, due to these killer diseases.

These childhood killer diseases can be prevented through adequate community health measures, such as, environmental sanitation, good nutrition and personal hygiene which raise the host immunity and most especially administration of vaccines which stimulated the production of specific antibodies against viruses and bacilli (FMOH, 2012).

THE IMPACT OF NATIONAL PROGRAMME ON IMMUNIZATION ON THE HEALTH OF CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN IN IKONO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

The art of immunization was introduced into the medical practice by Edward Jenner when he discovered that inoculation with cowpox protect the body against the infection. Based on this concept, Louis Pasteur developed attenuated vaccine against chickenpox, cholera, anthrax in sheep, cow, and rabies in man. This knowledge is brought by various health institutions and agencies in fighting against the killer diseases.

The programme of immunization started in Nigeria in 1979 following eradication of smallpox in 1971. There was a global interest to eradicate other infectious disease in 1984, it started as expanded programmes on immunization in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies.

There was introduction of immunization campaign in 1988 with the National Immunization Days ((NIPs) which was closely followed up State immunization days. In 1990, another campaign universal child immunization (UCI) came up and about 90% success recorded (WHO, 2014).

The National Programme on immunization is therefore charged with the responsibilities of reducing the burden of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) through immunization. Presently, it covers the following diseases: poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, yellow fever, hepatitis B and cerebrospinal meningitis. With improved programme management, immunization coverage is on the increase of an attendant decrease in disease incidence.

This is confirmed through the report of January 25, 2012 from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) on polio eradication campaign that has been on the nation. It was reported that 783 cases of acute flaccid paralysis were isolated in Nigeria with incidence in the northern states part of Delta and Ekiti states. But in Akwa Ibom State, no case has been recorded for the past five years (FMOH, 2012).

Therefore, with increase in incidence and disabilities from the diseases, parents, caregivers, and the community should continue to be actively involved in immunization programme so as to promote and protect the health of children and pregnant women in the community. Hence, this study focused on the impact of National Programme on Immunization on the health of children and pregnant women in Ikono Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

Every day millions of children are born in the developed and developing countries, and in every three seconds, a child dies somewhere in the world due to preventable diseases. Those who do not die may be disabled or handicapped for life. Thus, there is high morbidity and mortality rate amongst the susceptible population (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).

In the study area, there are reported cases of outbreak of some children’s killer diseases and problems associated with child birth among pregnant women. These problems keep increasing as the people living in some communities are illiterates, and lack of accessibility to health centres. Primary health care services in the study area are highly ineffective and have deteriorated due to the lack of investment in personnel, facilities and drugs, as well as poor management of existing resources.

There is also a lack of confidence and trust by the public in the health services resulting from the poor state of facilities and low standards of delivery. Coupled with lack of awareness, religious belief, and declination due to the custom of the land, at the family/community level there is a low demand for immunization due to a lack of understanding of its value. This situation has left one to question the efficacy of the national immunization programme in the study area. Hence, this study seeks to examine the impact of national programme on immunization on the health of children and pregnant women. 

1.3    Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the impact of national programme on immunization on the health of children and pregnant women in Ikono Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.

The specific objectives of the study are as follows:

  1. To assess the knowledge of mothers toward national immunization programme in Ikono Local Government Area.
  2. To identify the factors affecting effective utilization of immunization programme in Ikono Local Government Area.
  3. To determine the Benefits of National Programme on Immunization on the health of children and pregnant women in Ikono Local Government Area.
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1.4    Research Questions

  1. To what extend does mothers aware of children immunization in Ikono Local Government Area?
  2. What are the factors affecting effective utilization of immunization programme in Ikono Local Government Area?
  3. What are the Benefits of National Programme on Immunization on the health of children and pregnant women in Ikono Local Government Area?

1.5    Significance of the Study

The importance of immunization cannot be underestimated, as such, this study will be beneficial to the following people:

To the Children

  • The study will be of immense benefit to the children because when they receive vaccination against childhood diseases, their chances of contacting diseases is reduced. Thereby enhancing their growth and development.

To the Parents

  • This study will create awareness on the importance of immunization to the parents, thereby encouraging them to take their children to the health centre during immunization campaign.
  • It will also help pregnant women to realize the need to participate in immunization as it will help to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality rate.
  • At the end of this study, the fathers will see the need to cooperate with mothers to make sure their children are immunized.

To the Community

  • This study will create awareness to the people in the study area and educate them on the need to participate in immunization programme thereby creating a healthy community.

To the Government

  • This study will reveal factors that hinders effective immunization programme thereby helping the government to provide necessary amenities in the study area to facilitate effective immunization programme.

1.6    Scope of the Study

This study set to examine the impact of National Programme on Immunization on the health of children and pregnant women in Ikono Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. The study is delimited to the factors affecting immunization programme and the benefits of immunization programme. The study will focused on Ediene Clan of Ikono L.G.A. The study will be descriptive survey with a target population being children aged 0-5 and pregnant women.

1.7    Operational Definition of Terms

Impact: this can be defined as the powerful or dramatic effect that something or somebody has on something.

Immunization: This is a method of stimulating resistance in the human body to specific diseases using microorganisms—bacteria or viruses—that have been modified or killed.

Vaccines: This is a preparation containing weakened or dead microbes of the kind that cause a disease, administered to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against that disease.

National Immunization Programme: This refers to immunization programme sponsored by the Federal Government in collaboration with non-governmental agencies to provide vaccines for the prevention diseases in children and adults.

Mr. Harrison

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