Routine immunization status and its socioeconomic determinants among children attending the federal medical centre, Owerri, Nigeria.
Iregbu, Francis Uchechi
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Immunization has been proven a safe and cost effective means of protecting children from vaccine preventable diseases. Attaining optimal immunization coverage rests on having a good understanding of the factors that constitute barriers to the full immunization of children. Immunization coverage is historically low in Nigeria and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the efforts of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and its local successor, the National Programme on Immunization (NPI), the vaccine coverage in many parts of Nigeria is very much below the World Health Organization (WHO) target. Reports from different parts of the country show widely varying coverage levels, probably a reflection of the socio-economic circumstances of the inhabitants and the strength of their health systems. Thus, a local assessment remains the best way to determine the strength of the immunization programme in a given setting in Nigeria. The aim of this study was to determine the immunization coverage rates of children attending the outpatient clinic of the Federal Medical Centre Owerri, Nigeria, and to ascertain the socioeconomic factors associated with incomplete immunization among them.