Exploring the factors influencing the sustainability of mobile clinics for the delivery of the expanded programme on immunisation to the rural areas of the Northern Cape.
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The Northern Cape province has not been able to achieve the 90% immunization target recommended for South Africa’s expanded programme on immunisation (EPI). The situation has been attributed to the lack of access to EPI in the rural community. The Northern Cape’s poor infrastructure renders the provision of equitable preventive care service to rural communities a complex and costly task. The province is predominantly a rural setting consisting of farmland, with low population densities, and many residents have poor access to public transport to receive primary health care services from surrounding fixed or satellite clinics. Consequently, mothers often do not adhere to the immunization schedules, and lack awareness of the risks associated with the failure to have their infants vaccinated against communicable diseases. EPI services delivered via mobile clinics serve the primary health care needs for rural communities, but their sustainability remains a challenge. Additional barriers are found in literature which highlighted the shortage of health professionals, unreliable funding, limited transportation within rural areas and deficiencies in maintenance and suitability of mobile clinic vehicles.