Perception and utilization of tetanus toxoid immunization among pregnant women attending a tertiary centre in North-West Nigeria
Background: Despite the availability of inexpensive and effective tetanus-toxoid-containing vaccines, elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide has become a herculean task, particularly in low-income countries, due to poor immunization coverage. This study aimed to assess the perception and utilization of tetanus toxoid immunization among pregnant women attending a tertiary centre in North-West Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 254 pregnant women (selected by systematic sampling technique) attending the antenatal clinic of Specialist Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria. A structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on the research variables. Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS version 20 statistical computer software package.
Results: Most, 221 (87.0%) of the 254 respondents had heard of tetanus toxoid immunization. Of these, only about half (51.1%) believed that it protects both mother and newborn baby from tetanus. Majority of respondents considered TT immunization to be effective in protecting against tetanus infection (73.3%) and also safe for both mother and baby (79.2%). About two-thirds of respondents (68.8%) had the misconception that a single dose of TT immunization protects from tetanus infection. Less than a quarter of respondents (23.6%) had received two or more doses of the vaccine. The main barriers to utilization of vaccines were lack of awareness of the vaccine (41.8%), not being aware of its benefits (36.7%), and fear of side effects (21.5%)
Conclusion: Despite high levels of perception of the effectiveness and safety of TT immunization, the respondents in this study had low levels of perception and utilization of the protective doses of the vaccine. Government and healthcare workers should scale-up education of the populace on TT immunization schedule and implement community based vaccination of women of child bearing age in North-West Nigeria.
Keywords: Perception, utilization, tetanus toxoid immunization, pregnant women
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