PERSUASIVE COMMUNICATION: THE ROLE OF CAREGIVER CHARACTERISTICS ON ADOPTION OF ROUTINE IMMUNIZATION SERVICES OF CHILDREN AGED 0-5 YEARS IN BOMET COUNTY
Wa Ngula, Kyalo
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Purpose: An estimated two to three million annual deaths from Vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) are preventable through immunization. Currently about 19.5 million infants miss out on routine immunization globally. The study examined the role of caregiver characteristics in persuasive communication on adoption of routine immunization of children aged 0-5 years in Bomet County – Kenya. Methodology: This study self-funded, was a cross-sectional hospital based study, employing a mixed method research design. A sample of 384 caregivers participated in the study.Cronbach's alpha and confirmatory factor analysis tests was conducted to ascertain the reliability and validity of study instruments. Chi-square test was done to establish the relationship between caregiver characteristics and adoption of routine immunization. Data was collected using interviewer administered questionnaires and KII guide. Findings: The response rate was 95.1% with majority of the respondents in the age bracket of 19-25 at 42.2% and 61.4% were married with 36.9 % of the respondents reporting to be housewives. Majority of the respondent had primary level of education at 53.7 %, followed by secondary level those had attained only primary level of education with only 8.8% having attained tertiary level of education and those who had no level of education were 1.9%. On caregiver knowledge, 93.4% did not know any vaccines given to children. However, out of those that had knowledge on the vaccines, 66.3% agreed vaccines have side effects, though majorly they were mythical. Caregiver attitude on routine immunization was found to be negative. Unique contribution to theory, practice, and policy: The optimal model indicated that for every unit of Caregiver characteristic, the value of adoption changed by 0.386. The study concluded that caregiver characteristics had positive influence on adoption of routine immunization. The study recommended that routine immunization messages be made frequently available, targeted and tailored to the caregivers. Secondly, the community should be involved in advocacy towards adoption of routine immunization, to create ownership and adoption sustainability. Additionally, health workers should be motivated towards good practices in Healthworker-client communication specifically, persuasive communication to build trust from the caregivers. Contribution to practice and policy: Adoption of the study findings by the policy makers, will contribute to achieving the recommended 90%, fully immunized coverage. This in turn will reduce vaccine preventable diseases both in the study area and can be generalizing to settings with similar challenges in adoption of routine immunization.