Factors affecting the implementation of childhood vaccination communication strategies in Nigeria: a qualitative study

BMC Public Health
(Accessed 18 February 2017)

Research article
Factors affecting the implementation of childhood vaccination communication strategies in Nigeria: a qualitative study
Afiong Oku, Angela Oyo-Ita, Claire Glenton, Atle Fretheim, Glory Eteng, Heather Ames, Artur Muloliwa, Jessica Kaufman, Sophie Hill, Julie Cliff, Yuri Cartier, Xavier Bosch-Capblanch, Gabriel Rada and Simon Lewin
BMC Public Health 2017 17:200
Published on: 15 February 2017
The role of health communication in vaccination programmes cannot be overemphasized: it has contributed significantly to creating and sustaining demand for vaccination services and improving vaccination coverage. In Nigeria, numerous communication approaches have been deployed but these interventions are not without challenges. We therefore aimed to explore factors affecting the delivery of vaccination communication in Nigeria.
We used a qualitative approach and conducted the study in two states: Bauchi and Cross River States in northern and southern Nigeria respectively. We identified factors affecting the implementation of communication interventions through interviews with relevant stakeholders involved in vaccination communication in the health services. We also reviewed relevant documents. Data generated were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic analysis.
We used the SURE framework to organise the identified factors (barriers and facilitators) affecting vaccination communication delivery. We then grouped these into health systems and community level factors. Some of the commonly reported health system barriers amongst stakeholders interviewed included: funding constraints, human resource factors (health worker shortages, training deficiencies, poor attitude of health workers and vaccination teams), inadequate infrastructure and equipment and weak political will. Community level factors included the attitudes of community stakeholders and of parents and caregivers. We also identified factors that appeared to facilitate communication activities. These included political support, engagement of traditional and religious institutions and the use of organised communication committees.
Communication activities are a crucial element of immunization programmes. It is therefore important for policy makers and programme managers to understand the barriers and facilitators affecting the delivery of vaccination communication so as to be able to implement communication interventions more effectively.