Age At First Dose Of Measles Vaccination In Ethiopia

Y. Berhane, W. W. Schluter, F. Oyewole, O. A. Babaniyi


Background: Although measles vaccination is recommended to be given at nine months ofage in Ethiopia and in most of sub-Saharan Africa, no information is available about theage at which children actually receive their first dose of measles vaccine. This has importantimplications in terms of preventing infection and averting epidemics of measles.

Objective: To determine the age at which Ethiopian children actually receive their first doseof measles vaccine.

Design: Cross sectional study.

Setting: All major vaccination facilities including private and non-governmental healthfacilities that were registered with the Addis Ababa city Administration Health Bureau.

Subjects: A total of 17,674 records of children who received measles vaccination in healthfacilities were reviewed and in rural areas 615 children were surveyed over one year periodSeptember 2004 to August 2005.

Results: In both the urban and the rural settings the median age of children at first dose ofmeasles vaccination was nine months. In the rural areas only 19.8% of children had vaccinationcards. Measles coverage by card and history in rural areas was 84.4%. Many children from therural site received measles vaccination during supplemental immunisation activities (SIAs)rather than from routine vaccination programmes. Measles coverage significantly variesamong sub-cities in Addis Ababa.

Conclusion: Vaccination practices and measles coverage levels do not support delaying thefirst measles vaccine dose. Strengthening the routine vaccination programmes must receivepriority before changing recommended age for the first dose of measles vaccine.

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