Barriers to effective uptake and provision of immunization in a rural district in Uganda

Oliver Ombeva Malande*, Deogratias Munube, Rachel Nakatugga Afaayo, Kisakye Annet, Bongomin Bodo, Andrew Bakainaga, Elizabeth Ayebare, Sam Njunwamukama, Edison Arwanire Mworozi, Andrew Munyalo Musyoki

*Corresponding author for this work

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57 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 Malande et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Introduction Hoima, one of the largest districts in mid- western Uganda, has persistently performed poorly with low immunization coverage, high immunization drop outs rates and repeated outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases especially measles. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the state of immunization services and to identify the gaps in immunization health systems that contribute to low uptake and completion of immunization schedules in Hoima District. Methods This was a cross sectional mixed methods study, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative approaches. A situation analysis of the immunization services was carried out using in-depth interviews with vaccinators, focus group discussions and key informant interviews with ethno-videography. Secondary data was sourced from records at headquarters and vaccination centres within Hoima District. The quantitative component utilized cluster random sampling with sample size estimated using the World Health Organization’s 30 cluster sampling technique. Results A total of 311 caretaker/child pairs were included in the study. Immunization completion among children of age at least 12 months was 95% for BCG, 96% for OPV0, 93% for DPT1, 84.5% for DPT2, 81% for DPT3 and 65.5% for measles vaccines. Access to immunization centres is difficult due to poor road terrain, which affects effectiveness of outreach program, support supervision, mentorship and timely delivery of immunization program support supplies especially refrigerator gas and vaccines. Some facilities are under-equipped to effectively support the program. Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) identification, reporting and management is poorly understood. Conclusion Immunization services in Hoima District require urgent improvement in the following areas: vaccine supply, expanding service delivery points, more health workers, transport and tailored mechanisms to ensure adequate communication between health workers and caretakers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0212270
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


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