Via ReliefWeb, a UNICEF report: Hundreds of thousands of children continue to be missed during polio immunization campaigns in Nigeria. Excerpt:
While the proportion of missed children has shown a slightly decreasing trend in the last three rounds of Immunization Plus Days: 8.0% in December, 7.8% in February and 7.8% in March, hundreds of thousands of children continue to be missed during polio immunization campaigns in Nigeria.
According to the latest UNICEF data analysis, Kano has the highest percentage of missed children (9.8%) followed by Kebbi (9.7%) and Jigawa (8.5%). ‘Child absent’ remains the main reason for missed children, accounting for over 66% of the total number of missed children.
“Children who are absent when vaccination teams visit are usually at playgrounds, which are usually not far from their homes. Other times, they may be at social events, which often take place in or near the household,” said Tommi Laulajainen, Chief of UNICEF Polio Communication.
Non-compliance as a reason for missed children during IPDs also remains high in some parts of Nigeria. Nationally, caregivers’ refusals to vaccinate their children account for 24% of the total number of missed children during campaigns. States like Borno (41%), Yobe (38%) and Katsina (24%) still have a high proportion of unresolved non-compliance even after revisit teams have gone back to the households refusing vaccination in the first place. REDO data for the last three Immunization Plus Days shows that “Traditional leaders” are amongst the most significant groups in terms of resolving vaccine refusals.
In the March campaign, Yobe had the highest non-compliance (33%). In Jigawa, “no felt need” is a dominating reason for refusals with 44% of caregivers refusing OPV citing this reason. The main reasons for non-compliance in high risk states are given as “no felt need” (27%), “no reason” (26%), “no care giver consent” (14%), “too many rounds” (8%), and “OPV safety” (7%).
“Many social studies have revealed that high risk populations in Nigeria do not know how many doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) their children require. Additionally, caregivers have some concerns over the safety of OPV, or do not feel their children are susceptible to polio, which could contribute to the response of “no felt need.” Other social and political factors also contribute to refusals,” Laulajainen continued.