Mothers’ education directly related to immunisation coverage: WHO report
A WHO report released in July 2018 focuses on the 10 countries identified as the highest priority for childhood immunisation by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). These countries, including India, face the most severe immunisation challenges. They together account for over 70 per cent of children, who do not get a full course of basic vaccines.
Pune: A World Health Organisation (WHO) report reveals that immunisation coverage is directly related to the mother’s educational background across all 10 low-income countries. The data reflects that higher the education level of the mother more is the immunisation coverage among their children.
According to the report, mothers in India with no education at all tend to be less aware of immunisation and hence the coverage extended by them is only 68.6 per cent. However, mothers with primary education and secondary education tend to extend immunisation coverage to their children up to 77.9 and 82.9 per cent respectively. Mothers with more than secondary school education extend coverage up to 87 per cent, reveals the report.
According to the report, in India in 2015-2016, children with highly educated mothers aged 20 to 49 years who belonged to the richest 20 per cent of the population had a 5.3 times higher chance of being vaccinated, compared to the children born to teenage mothers with no education, in the poorest 20 per cent of the population.
Speaking about the data revealed by the report, Dr Abhijeet More, a public health expert from the city said the government should focus on strengthening the Primary Health Centres (PHC).
“Immunisation is a preventive approach and so there is a need for awareness. It is evident from the data that the reach of awareness programmes is limited and in order to strengthen that, there should be more PHC and sub-centres where these mothers get proper counselling. ASHA workers and anganwadi workers can take the message in a stronger and more effective way to the mothers and educate them about the importance of immunisation as well as its positive effects on children and their growth,” said More.
According to the report, there were small differentials in immunisation coverage by mother’s caste or tribe. Coverage was higher among those in the Scheduled Caste, other backward class or other subgroups which were around 80 per cent. Whereas 74 per cent coverage was reported which was lower in the Scheduled Tribe subgroup.
Sharing his experience, Dr Hari Pawar, a doctor with the State government in Akola said the nexus of ASHA workers makes the communication easier.
“However, migratory population such as sugarcane workers or shepherd community women take their children with them. Hence tracking them or bringing them for immunisation coverage is a bit difficult. The ASHA workers are mostly from the village and hence are familiar with everyone and the trust bond with mothers help to take the message of immunisation too,” said Dr Pawar.