In the densely populated urban slums of Bangladesh, where life is a delicate balance between survival and progress, a recent study delves into the world of child immunisation. The aim? To unravel the intricate web of knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) among parents and service providers regarding the valid vaccination schedule and the alarming prevalence of invalid vaccine doses.
The study, employing a cross-sectional, mixed-method design, casts a spotlight on 456 respondents chosen at random from the urban slums. Astonishingly, 99.34% of them reported positive experiences with vaccination services, with 95.83% acknowledging its role in enhancing their children’s immunity. However, this rosy picture begins to fade as we delve deeper into the realm of knowledge.
A mere 31.36% of parents demonstrated adequate knowledge about the number of vaccinations in the routine immunisation program, and shockingly, a mere 4.17% were aware of the existence of invalid vaccine doses. This glaring gap in knowledge underscores a critical issue in the communication between service providers and parents.
A closer look at the factors influencing knowledge levels reveals that maternal education and media exposure significantly affect parental knowledge. Mothers with higher education and greater exposure to media demonstrated higher levels of understanding about vaccination schedules. This finding underscores the need for targeted educational efforts to bridge the knowledge gap, especially among mothers with limited education and media exposure.
Furthermore, the study uncovered a significant association between immunisation practices and the number of living children. It appears that the more children a parent has, the more likely they are to adhere to immunisation practices. This insight provides a nuanced understanding of the challenges parents with fewer children might face in following vaccination schedules.
Disturbingly, a staggering 96.71% of respondents reported that no one had informed them about the possibility of receiving invalid vaccine doses. This lack of communication, as highlighted by service providers, is attributed to factors such as service charges, urban mobility, NGO field staff workload, and inadequate training.
The discussion segment of the study paints a vivid picture of the stark disparities between what parents think they know and the actual knowledge required for effective vaccination. While almost all respondents were aware of the routine vaccination program, a mere 31% possessed accurate information about the number of doses for each disease.
This knowledge gap extends to specific vaccines, with respondents often unaware of the diseases targeted by vaccines like BCG and Pentavalent. Despite Bangladesh’s achievement of ‘Polio-free’ status since 2014, only 37% of respondents knew the purpose of the polio vaccine, revealing a concerning lack of awareness regarding crucial health milestones.
The study, however, acknowledges its limitations, emphasising the need for future research to explore economic aspects related to invalid vaccine doses and the potential financial losses incurred. Moreover, it calls attention to the importance of considering the impact of invalid vaccine doses on parents beyond the scope of behavioural aspects.
The study acts as a clarion call for targeted interventions. It not only sheds light on the existing gaps in knowledge, attitude, and practices related to vaccination but also proposes practical solutions. The recommendation to engage slum authorities in immunisation activities emerges as a potential game-changer, offering a community-centric approach to disseminating accurate information and reducing the prevalence of invalid vaccine doses. As the findings ripple through the corridors of healthcare policy, one hopes for a future where every parent in the urban slums of Bangladesh is not just aware but empowered to make informed decisions about their child’s vaccination journey.
Reference: Sultana, T.; Moniruzzaman, M.; Dey, S. (2023). Assessing the knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) of parents and service providers’ perceptions on invalid vaccine doses: A study in urban slums of Bangladesh. DOI:10.32388/0SARPC.2 Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/372779235_Assessing_the_knowledge_attitude_and_practice_KAP_of_parents_and_service_providers%27_perceptions_on_invalid_vaccine_doses_A_study_in_urban_slums_of_Bangladesh