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Background: Effective vaccination communication with parents is critical in efforts to overcome barriers to childhood vaccination, tackle vaccine hesitancy and improve vaccination coverage. Health workers should be able to provide information to caregivers and support them in decision making about vaccinating their children. Limited information exists regarding the awareness, perceptions to childhood immunisation reminders and recall system in Abakaliki. This study, therefore, assessed the awareness, perceptions of caregivers to childhood immunisation reminders and recall system in improving immunisation coverage in Abakaliki.
Materials and Methods: A descriptive analytical study design comparing two large health facilities (Mile-Four and St.Vincent Hospitals in Ebonyi and Izzi Local Government Areas respectively) in Ebonyi State was used for the survey. The study duration was three months. Sample size was determined using the formula for comparing two proportions. Data were collected using semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire from 145 caregiver-child pair from each group. Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 22 was used for analysis. Ethical approval was obtained from the Research and Ethics Committee (REC) of the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (FETHA), Nigeria.
Results: The mean age of respondents in Mile-Four and St.Vincent hospitals were 26.6 ±4.9 years and 27.1±4.2 years respectively. Higher proportion of caregivers in Mile-Four group (18.6%) than in St.Vincent group (14.5%) had ever heard of immunisation reminders and recalls prior to this study. Similarly, only 8.3% of caregivers in Mile-Four and 4.8% in St.Vincent had ever been reminded and/or recalled on the course of their children’s immunisation uptake. A comparable proportion of respondents in Mile-Four (93.1%) and St.Vincent (94.5%) perceived reminders and recalls very important. There was a significant relationship between respondent's marital and educational status and positive perception about immunisation reminders and recalls in Mile-Four and respondent’s age and marital status and positive perception about immunisation reminders and recalls in St.Vincent (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Respondents’ awareness was low but positive perception to reminders and recall was found. It is pertinent for health policy makers and programme managers to understand these factors when implementing immunisation communication system.