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Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal – EMHJ
Vol. 24 No. 4 – 2018
Provincial differences in levels, trends, and determinants of child-hood immunization in Pakistan
Adrienne Kols,1 Zulfikar Gorar,2 Muhammad Sharjeel,3 Farid Midhet,4 Rashid Nazir,4 Dileep Kumar 5 and Aslam Fareed 4
1Jhpiego, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America (Correspondence to: Adrienne Kols: email@example.com). 2USAID/Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan. 3Marie Stopes Society, Karachi, Pakistan; Pathfinder International, Karachi, Pakistan (current). 4Jhpiego/Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan. 5JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., Karachi, Pakistan; USAID/Pakistan, Karachi, Pakistan (current).
Background: Efforts to improve immunization rates are urgently needed in Pakistan but national statistics mask important local differences in immunization levels and determinants.
Aim: In this study we aimed to determine how similar or different are recent trends and levels of immunization coverage in Pakistan’s 4 main provinces [Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan], and what factors are associated with complete childhood immunization in each province.
Method: We analysed data from the 2006–07 and 2012–13 Pakistan Demographic and Health Surveys. Trends in immunization coverage among children aged 12–23 months were calculated for each province. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with complete immunization.
Results: The proportion of children completely immunized had risen significantly in Punjab but had fallen significantly in Balochistan. Complete coverage ranged from 16.4% in Balochistan to 65.8% in Punjab (2012–13). Tetanus toxoid injection during pregnancy was a significant predictor of complete immunization everywhere. Other predictors in specific provinces were: urban residence in Balochistan, wealth in Sindh and KPK, mother’s education in Punjab and KPK, and distance to the facility in Punjab.
Conclusions: Although some strategies to increase immunization coverage are relevant nationwide, programme managers need to seek solutions specific to provincial trends and predictors. This analysis demonstrates that viewing childhood immunization in Pakistan through a provincial lens can help achieve a deeper understanding of the challenges and potential strategies to boost coverage.