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An assessment of the impact of health education on maternal knowledge and practice of childhood immunization in Kware, Sokoto State

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Oche, M. O., A. S. Umar, et al. (2011). "An assessment of the impact of health education on maternal knowledge and practice of childhood immunization in Kware, Sokoto State." Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology 3(10): 440-447.

Objective: Immunization is one of the most powerful and cost effective weapons of modern medicine, and is a major tool being used to achieve the 4th Millennium Development Goals (MDG). This study was therefore aimed at assessing the impact of health education using the Community Level Nutrition Information System for Action (COLNISA) strategy on knowledge and practice of childhood immunization among mothers in Kware town, Sokoto State.

Methods: This was a controlled community trial in two semi urban communities in Sokoto State, Nigeria. The study population comprised of mothers of children 0 to 23 months old chosen based on eligibility criteria. A total of 179 mother-child pairs were recruited into the study. Data collected at baseline and after intervention were analyzed using EPI INFO 3.3 software. The level of knowledge was assessed using a scoring system as adequate and inadequate which is used to assess immunization coverage for diptheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT3).

Results: At baseline, 59 and 53% of the mothers had adequate knowledge of childhood immunization in the intervention and control communities, respectively. However, following intervention, 69 and 51% of the mothers in the intervention and control communities, respectively had adequate knowledge. Similarly, at the post intervention phase of the study, DPT3 rose from 21 to 33% in the intervention community while a decrease in coverage from 26 to 20% was observed in the control community. Generally the low immunization coverage in the study area could be attributed to the low level of knowledge among the mothers about immunization services and the poor attitude of health workers. The finding of this study, strongly indicate that improved knowledge and community participation has the potential to create positive attitudinal and behavioural change if culturally appropriate community educators and influencers are used.

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