Factors influencing the uptake of the revised expanded immunisation programme at Umlazi township, KwaZulu-Natal
Chonco, Nomfundo Prudence Hedwig
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Brief background: The Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) is one of the most powerful and cost-effective public health programmes to improve child survival. In South Africa the programme remained fragmented because of the system of apartheid until 1995 when the national EPI was formed through the unification of all immunisation services in the country. Since then there have been significant advances in immunisation service delivery in South Africa. Amongst the revisions that were made in 2009 was the change of the EPI schedule. Aim of the study The aim of the study was to investigate the factors that influence the uptake of the revised EPI for children between the ages of 6 to 12 years at Umlazi Township, KwaZulu-Natal in order to improve immunisation coverage. Methodology A descriptive quantitative design was used to conduct the study. A total of ten primary health care clinics were included in the study. Data was collected from child caregivers and health care workers using self-directed questionnaires. Results: It was worth noting that although the results of the study revealed that the EPI coverage for children between the ages 6 to 12 years remained low in Umlazi Township, however, the programme was well-implemented. Several factors that influenced the uptake of the immunisations were identified and these factors could be used to strengthen the EPI programme in Umlazi. Factors that had a negative influence on the uptake of immunisations were also identified and these factors could be used to develop strategies address the challenges.