How to increase vaccination coverage among Kenyan children under five?

Lay summary by Faye Janice Lim

If you live in a developed country, chances are, you have never met a child affected by a vaccine-preventable disease, such as polio and measles. This is because the majority of children in developed countries are vaccinated against these diseases. Sadly, in developing countries, many children still do not receive these life-saving vaccines.

There are many ways of increasing uptake of vaccines, but which one is most effective? What makes a person, a family or a whole community more likely to get their children vaccinated? Kawakatsu and colleagues used data collected by the Kenyan government and UNICEF to search for the answers to these questions in Kenyan children aged less than 5 years.

They found that mass vaccination campaigns appeared to be the most effective in increasing vaccine uptake. By comparison, increasing the number of health facilities or having community health units was less effective. Children from wealthier families had a greater chance of receiving all their vaccines compared to children from poorer families. Communities where many families own at least one media device (e.g. TV, radio or phone) were also more likely to have their children vaccinated than those with few families owning a media device.

Authors suggest that mass vaccination campaigns are effective in increasing vaccine uptake as anyone, whether rich or poor, can participate. Community meetings and women’s groups may help spread the word about the benefits of vaccination in communities where few families own a media device.

For further information

Read the Public Health original research article which this summary is based on Effects of three interventions and determinants of full vaccination among children aged 12–59 months in Nyanza province, Kenya (August 2015).

Visit the profile of the research ambassador, Faye Janice Lim, who wrote this summary.

STM Digest is a collection of lay summaries published next to original research articles on ScienceDirect, provided free of charge, and accessible to everyone.

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