BMC Health Serv Res. 2023 Sep 7;23(1):969. doi: 10.1186/s12913-023-09940-4.
BACKGROUND: Immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions for improving children’s health and survival. In Ethiopia, low immunization coverage and disparity across residences are major public health problems. However, the factors that contributed to the urban-rural disparity have not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine the change and contributing factors in full immunization coverage across geographic locations (urban-rural) in Ethiopia.
METHODS: We analyzed data on children aged 12 to 23 months obtained from the 2019 mini-Ethiopian demographic and health survey. A total of 996 weighted samples (299 in urban and 697 in rural areas) were included in the analysis. A multivariate decomposition analysis technique was used to determine the disparity and identify factors that contribute to the disparity across geographical locations. Statistical significance was defined at a 95% confidence interval with a p-value of less than 0.05.
RESULTS: The percentage of children aged 12-23 months who received full immunization increased from 36.84% (95% CI:31.59, 42.41) in rural areas to 64.59% (95% CI:47.10, 78.89) in urban areas. The decomposition analysis showed that the observed urban-rural disparity was attributed to a change in the effect of population characteristics (coefficient) across residences. Specifically, receiving 1-3 (β = 0.0895, 95% CI: 0.0241, 0.1550) and 4 or more (β = 0.1212, 95% CI: 0.0224, 0.2199) antenatal care visits, delivering at a health facility (β = 0.1350, 95% CI: 0.0227, 0.2472), and the source of information about immunization status from vaccination cards (β = 0.2666, 95% CI:0.1763, 0.3569) significantly contributed to the widening urban-rural disparity. On the other hand, being of high wealth status (β=-0.141, 95% CI: -0.1945, -0.0876), receiving postnatal care (β=-0.0697, 95% CI: -0.1344, -0.0051), and having four or more living children (β=-0.1774, 95% CI: -0.2971, -0.0577) significantly contributed to narrowing the urban-rural disparity.
CONCLUSIONS: There was a significant urban-rural disparity in immunization coverage in Ethiopia, with urban children more likely to complete immunization. The change in the composition of population characteristics was not significant for the observed disparity. The observed disparity in full immunization coverage was mainly driven by the coefficients related to maternal healthcare utilization, household wealth status, the number of living children, and the source of immunization information. Therefore, strengthening maternal health services utilization, encouraging mothers to maintain their children’s immunization records, and addressing economic inequality, particularly in rural areas, may narrow the urban-rural disparity and enhance immunization coverage nationwide.