Author: El- Zanaty & Associates
Effective communication strategies can contribute substantially to maintain high immunization coverage. Accordingly, the need to conduct a strong public mobilization campaign at the various levels is critical if Egypt is to be announced free of Polio by the end of 2003. Documenting the impact of social mobilization efforts has been particularly problematic over the past years. There is no systematic assessment of the public awareness, knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding immunization in general and Polio in particular, which is weakening sound communication planning. In addition, there is no segregated data that could be used for audience segmentation for devising appropriate mass media or interpersonal communication strategies.
Purpose / Objective
The goal of this Baseline Survey is to contribute to the eradication of Polio in Egypt by providing sound information to enlighten the design and implementation of communication strategies and social mobilization campaign, and to assess its outcomes.
The specific objective is to provide baseline data on public awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding routine immunization and, in particular, as related to Polio.
Two questionnaires were developed in order to collect information: a household questionnaire and a caretaker (usually the mother of the child) questionnaire. 1,934 households were successfully interviewed. A total of 751 caretakers were found in the interviewed households.
Key Findings and Conclusions
Overall, around 93 percent of caretakers reported watching TV and most of them prefer channels one and two. As expected for local channels, channel three is the most preferred channel for caretakers from Urban Governorates, while caretakers from Lower Egypt prefer channel six and those from Upper Egypt prefer channels eight and seven.
Around 42 percent of caretakers listen to radio; El- Quran El-Karim is the most preferred channel followed by El-Bernameg EL-Aam then El-Shark El-Aosaat. On the contrary to TV, most of the caretakers listen to the radio before noon (6am -12pm).
Level of exposure to printed media is remarkably lower than other broadcast media, especially television. Overall, 21 percent of caretakers read newspapers/magazines, while 79 percent never read any newspapers/magazines or reported that they can't read. Urban caretakers reported reading newspapers and magazines more than rural caretakers (37 percent vs. 12 percent), with significant differences between urban and rural regions.
Knowledge of Polio Immunization:
Differences in knowledge of Polio immunization exist between urban and rural caretakers. In general, urban caretakers know the main vaccinations more than rural caretakers. In addition, BCG and measles vaccines are the most known vaccines compared to the other vaccines.
Thirty eight percent of caretakers mentioned the correct number of main Polio doses (3 or 4 doses). Rural caretakers knew the correct number of doses more than urban caretakers (39 percent vs. 35 percent). The correct child's age at receiving Polio vaccination for the first three doses was known by about 90 percent and 77 percent for urban and rural caretakers respectively, while the other two doses were known by 78 and 53 percent for the two areas respectively.
Almost all caretakers heard about NID. Almost all caretakers agreed that the child should take NIDs doses even if he was given all the main doses. NIDs cannot replace the main doses was reported by 92 percent of caretakers in Urban Governorates compared to 68 percent in Upper Egypt. Regarding the delaying of one dose, 43 percent of caretakers reported that "Nothing happens". Half of the caretakers mentioned that there is no maximum number of doses for the Polio vaccine, while slightly more than 30 percent mentioned the existence of a limited number of doses.
Slightly more than one-third of all caretakers do not know whom to inform regarding the appearance of any infected child and 8 percent mentioned places other than a health unit. The most obvious and surprising result was that around 11 percent of caretakers believe that Polio immunization will harm the child.
Practices of Polio Immunization:
Birth records and/or health cards were available in the case of 70 percent of children 12-59 months, with 73 percent in rural areas and 65 percent in urban areas. Lower Egypt is the best region that has the birth record or health card more than other regions.
Ninety-three percent of children 12-59 months took all the immunization (excluding hepatitis). Almost all children 12-59 months received the first dose of Polio and around 96 percent received the second and the third dose or more doses of Polio vaccine. Ninety-three percent of children 12-59 months for whom a vaccination record was seen by the interviewer received the first and the second dose of Polio while 91 percent of them received the third dose.
First dose of Polio was received on average at the age of 1.5 months, second dose at 2.9 months, third dose at 4.4 months, fourth dose/ the first activated dose at 6.7 months and the second activated dose at 13.2 months. Around 43 percent of the children did not receive vaccine at NIDs because they were still young or the NIDs did not go to the area where they are living (40 percent). Data also highlight a very important issue -- rumors and fears of vaccination are still reasons for not taking the vaccine doses (10 percent).
Utilize the Quran El-Kareem radio channel in airing spots about Polio vaccinations and NIDs. Air TV spots at different times throughout the day especially evenings and nights; for radio spots, in the morning before noon.
Increase awareness of caretakers about:
- the importance of the immunization of children in all the NID especially among caretakers in urban areas
- the number of main Polio doses
- the importance of taking the Polio doses on date
Designate special spots targeting caretakers who have misperceptions regarding Polio vaccination.
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