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      EPI immunization coverage, timeliness and dropout rate among children in a West Cameroon health district: a cross sectional study

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          Monitoring of the expanded program on immunization’s performance is not only limited to routine periodic reports but equally includes surveys. Based on unpublished national EPI surveillance data from the past 5 years in Cameroon, the Foumban health district has reported a high number of vaccine preventable disease suspected cases. Contradictory information on the immunization coverage in this district exists from both administrative data and published literature. As a result, the objective of this study was to estimate the immunization coverage and dropout rate in age group 12–23 months and timeliness in age group 0–59 months among children in Foumban Health District (Cameroon), in 2018.


          This was a descriptive cross-sectional study targeting randomly selected children aged 0–59 months from Foumban health district. Data were collected by trained and supervised surveyors using a pretested questionnaire to describe the immunization coverage, timeliness and dropout rate in eighty clusters of about thirty buildings selected by stratified random sampling in July 2018.


          In total, 80 clusters covering 2121 buildings were selected and all were reached (100%). A total of 1549 (81.2%) households accepted to participate in the survey and 1430 children aged 0–59 months including 294 (20.6%) aged 12–23 months were enrolled into the study. Of these 1430 children, 427 [29.9 (27.4–32.2)%] aged 0–59 months were vaccinated with evidence. In the age group 12–23 months, the immunization coverage with evidence of BCG, DPT-Hi + Hb 3 and measles/rubella were 28.6(23.4–33.9)%, 22.8 (18.1–27.6)% and 14.3 (10.3–18.1)% respectively. Within age group 0–59 months; the proportion of children who missed their vaccination appointments increased from 23.3 to 31.7% for the vaccine planned at birth (BCG) and last vaccine planned (Measles/Rubella) for the EPI program respectively. In age group 12–23 months; the specific (DPT-Hi + Hb1–3) and general (BCG-Measles/Rubella) dropout rates of vaccination with evidence were 14.1 and 50.0% respectively.


          Documented immunization coverage, dropout rate and timeliness in Foumban Health district are lower than that targeted by the Cameroon EPI. Competent health authorities have to take necessary actions to ensure the implementation of national guidelines with regards to children access to immunization. Also, studies have to be conducted to identify determinants of low immunization coverage and delays in immunization schedules as well as high dropout rates.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Reaching Migrants in Survey Research: The Use of the Global Positioning System to Reduce Coverage Bias in China

           P. F. Landry (2005)
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            Mobile phone-delivered reminders and incentives to improve childhood immunisation coverage and timeliness in Kenya (M-SIMU): a cluster randomised controlled trial

            Summary Background As mobile phone access continues to expand globally, opportunities exist to leverage these technologies to support demand for immunisation services and improve vaccine coverage. We aimed to assess whether short message service (SMS) reminders and monetary incentives can improve immunisation uptake in Kenya. Methods In this cluster-randomised controlled trial, villages were randomly and evenly allocated to four groups: control, SMS only, SMS plus a 75 Kenya Shilling (KES) incentive, and SMS plus 200 KES (85 KES = USD$1). Caregivers were eligible if they had a child younger than 5 weeks who had not yet received a first dose of pentavalent vaccine. Participants in the intervention groups received SMS reminders before scheduled pentavalent and measles immunisation visits. Participants in incentive groups, additionally, received money if their child was timely immunised (immunisation within 2 weeks of the due date). Caregivers and interviewers were not masked. The proportion of fully immunised children (receiving BCG, three doses of polio vaccine, three doses of pentavalent vaccine, and measles vaccine) by 12 months of age constituted the primary outcome and was analysed with log-binomial regression and General Estimating Equations to account for correlation within clusters. This trial is registered with, number NCT01878435. Findings Between Oct 14, 2013, and Oct 17, 2014, we enrolled 2018 caregivers and their infants from 152 villages into the following four groups: control (n=489), SMS only (n=476), SMS plus 75 KES (n=562), and SMS plus 200 KES (n=491). Overall, 1375 (86%) of 1600 children who were successfully followed up achieved the primary outcome, full immunisation by 12 months of age (296 [82%] of 360 control participants, 332 [86%] of 388 SMS only participants, 383 [86%] of 446 SMS plus 75 KES participants, and 364 [90%] of 406 SMS plus 200 KES participants). Children in the SMS plus 200 KES group were significantly more likely to achieve full immunisation at 12 months of age (relative risk 1·09, 95% CI 1·02–1·16, p=0·014) than children in the control group. Interpretation In a setting with high baseline immunisation coverage levels, SMS reminders coupled with incentives significantly improved immunisation coverage and timeliness. Given that global immunisation coverage levels have stagnated around 85%, the use of incentives might be one option to reach the remaining 15%. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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              Use of handheld computers with global positioning systems for probability sampling and data entry in household surveys.

              We introduce an innovative method that uses personal digital assistants (PDAs) equipped with global positioning system (GPS) units in household surveys to select a probability-based sample and perform PDA-based interviews. Our approach uses PDAs with GPS to rapidly map all households in selected areas, choose a random sample, and navigate back to the sampled households to conduct an interview. We present recent field experience in two large-scale nationally representative household surveys to assess insecticide-treated bed net coverage as part of malaria control efforts in Africa. The successful application of this method resulted in statistically valid samples; quality-controlled data entry; and rapid aggregation, analyses, and availability of preliminary results within days of completing the field work. We propose this method as an alternative to the Expanded Program on Immunization cluster sample method when a fast, statistically valid survey is required in an environment with little census information at the enumeration area level.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                13 February 2020
                13 February 2020
                : 20
                [1 ]M.A. SANTE (Meilleuraccès aux soins de Santé), P.O. Box 33490, Yaoundé, Cameroon
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0657 2358, GRID grid.8201.b, Department of Biomedical Sciences, , University of Dschang, Cameroon, ; P.O. Box 067, Dschang, Cameroon
                [3 ]Dschang District Hospital, Dschang West region of Cameroon, Dschang, Cameroon
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0668 6654, GRID grid.415857.a, Division of Health Operations Research, , Ministry of Public Health, ; Yaoundé, Cameroon
                © The Author(s). 2020

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation;
                Award ID: OPP1190786
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                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2020

                Public health

                epi, immunization, coverage, timeliness, completeness


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