[Accessed 25 May 2019]
Changes in childhood vaccination coverage over time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Vivian H. Alfonso, Anna Bratcher, Hayley Ashbaugh, Reena Doshi, Adva Gadoth, Nicole Hoff, Patrick Mukadi, Angie Ghanem, Alvan Cheng, Sue Gerber, Guillaume Ngoie Mwamba, Jean Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, Emile Okitolonda Wemakoy, Anne W. Rimoin
| published 24 May 2019 PLOS ONE
Despite increased vaccination rates, the burden, morbidity and mortality associated with vaccine preventable diseases remains high. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), potentially unreliable data and geographically varied program provision call for a better understanding of vaccination coverage and its changes over time at the country and province level. To assess changes in the proportion of children who were fully vaccinated over time in the DRC, vaccination histories for children 12–59 months of age were obtained from both the 2007 and 2013–2014 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Changes were assessed, both at the country- and province-levels, to identify potential geographic variations. Vaccination coverage improved 70% between the DHS waves: 26% compared to 44% of 12–59 month-old children met full vaccination criteria in 2007 and 2013–2014, respectively (n2007 = 3032 and n2013-14 = 6619). Similarly, there was an overall trend across both DHS waves where as year of birth increased, so did vaccination coverage. There was geographic variation in immunization changes with most central and eastern provinces increasing in coverage and most northern, western and southern provinces having decreased vaccination coverage at the second time point. Using nationally representative data, we identified significant changes over time in vaccination coverage which may help to inform future policy, interventions and research to improve vaccination rates among children in the DRC. This study is the first of its kind for the population of DRC and provides an important initial step towards better understanding trends in vaccination coverage over time.