Open Access Research article

More support for mothers: a qualitative study on factors affecting immunisation behaviour in Kampala, Uganda

Juliet N Babirye12*, Elizeus Rutebemberwa1, Juliet Kiguli1, Henry Wamani1, Fred Nuwaha1 and Ingunn MS Engebretsen2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 7072, Kampala Uganda

2 Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:723  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-723

Published: 25 September 2011



The proportion of Ugandan children who are fully vaccinated has varied over the years. Understanding vaccination behaviour is important for the success of the immunisation programme. This study examined influences on immunisation behaviour using the attitude-social influence-self efficacy model.


We conducted nine focus group discussions (FGDs) with mothers and fathers. Eight key informant interviews (KIIs) were held with those in charge of community mobilisation for immunisation, fathers and mothers. Data was analysed using content analysis.


Influences on the mother's immunisation behaviour ranged from the non-supportive role of male partners sometimes resulting into intimate partner violence, lack of presentable clothing which made mothers vulnerable to bullying, inconvenient schedules and time constraints, to suspicion against immunisation such as vaccines cause physical disability and/or death.


Immunisation programmes should position themselves to address social contexts. A community programme that empowers women economically and helps men recognise the role of women in decision making for child health is needed. Increasing male involvement and knowledge of immunisation concepts among caretakers could improve immunisation.