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This article is part of the supplement: The fallacy of coverage: uncovering disparities to improve immunization rates through evidence. The Canadian International Immunization Initiative Phase 2 (CIII2) Operational Research Grants

Open Access Research

One size does not fit all: local determinants of measles vaccination in four districts of Pakistan

Anne Cockcroft1*, Neil Andersson2, Khalid Omer1, Noor M Ansari1, Amir Khan13, Ubaid Ullah Chaudhry1 and Umaira Ansari1

Author Affiliations

1 CIET in Pakistan, House 226, Block 18, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, Pakistan

2 Centro de Investigación de Enfermedades Tropicales (CIET), Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Acapulco, Mexico

3 Department of geography and urban regional planning, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan

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BMC International Health and Human Rights 2009, 9(Suppl 1):S4  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-9-S1-S4

Published: 14 October 2009

Abstract

Background

Rates of childhood vaccination in Pakistan remain low.There is continuing debate about the role of consumer and service factors in determining levels of vaccination in developing countries.

Methods

In a stratified random cluster sample of census enumeration areas across four districts in Pakistan, household interviews about vaccination of children and potentially related factors with 10,423 mothers of 14,542 children preceded discussion of findings in separate male and female focus groups. Logistic regression analyses helped to clarify local determinants of measles vaccination.

Results

Across the four districts, from 17% to 61% of mothers had formal education and 50% to 86% of children aged 12-23 months had received measles vaccination. Children were more likely to receive measles vaccination if the household was less vulnerable, if their mother had any formal education, if she knew at least one vaccine preventable disease, and if she had not heard of any bad effects of vaccination. Discussing vaccinations in the family was strongly associated with vaccination. In rural areas, living within 5 km of a vaccination facility or in a community visited by a vaccination team were associated with vaccination, as was the mother receiving information about vaccinations from a visiting lady health worker. Focus groups confirmed personal and service delivery obstacles to vaccination, in particular cost and poor access to vaccination services. Despite common factors, the pattern of variables related to measles vaccination differed between and within districts.

Conclusions

Vaccination coverage varies from district to district in Pakistan and between urban and rural areas in any district. Common factors are associated with vaccination, but their relative importance varies between locations. Good local information about vaccination rates and associated variables is important to allow effective and equitable planning of services.