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Open Access Research article

Lot quality survey: an appealing method for rapid evaluation of vaccine coverage in developing countries – experience in Turkey

Banu Cakir*, Sarp Uner, Fehminaz Temel and Levent Akin

Author Affiliations

Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health, TR-06100 Ankara, Republic of Turkey

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:240  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-240

Published: 16 July 2008

Abstract

Background

Vaccine-preventable diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide and in developing countries in particular. Information on coverage and reasons for non-vaccination is vital to enhance overall vaccination activities. Of the several survey techniques available for investigating vaccination coverage in a given setting, the Lot Quality Technique (LQT) remains appealing and could be used in developing countries by local health personnel of district or rural health authorities to evaluate their performance in vaccination and many other health-related programs. This study aimed to evaluate vaccination coverage using LQT in a selected semi-urban setting in Turkey.

Methods

A LQT-based cross-sectional study was conducted in Kecioren District on a representative sample of residents aged 12–23 months in order to evaluate coverage for routine childhood vaccines, to identify health units with coverage below 75%, and to investigate reasons for non-vaccination.

Results

Based on self-reports, coverage for BCG, diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT-3), oral polio-3, hepatitis-3, and measles vaccines ranged between 94–99%. Coverage for measles was below 75% in five lots. The relatively high educational and socioeconomic status of parents in the study group alone could not minimize the "considerable" risk of vaccine-preventable diseases in the District and dictates a continuity of efforts for improving vaccination rates, with special emphasis on measles. We believe that administrative methods should be backed up by household surveys to strengthen vaccination monitoring and that families should be trained and motivated to have their children fully vaccinated according to the recommended schedule and in a timely manner.

Conclusion

This study identified vaccine coverage for seven routine vaccines completed before the age of 24 months as well as the areas requiring special attention in vaccination services. The LQT, years after its introduction to health-related research, remains an appealing technique for rapid evaluation of the extent of a variety of local health concerns in developing countries, in rural areas in particular, and is very efficient in determining performance of individual subunits in a given service area. Training of local health personnel on use of the LQT could expedite response to local health problems and could even motivate them in conducting their own surveys tailored to their professional interests.