Back to browse results
Effect of media use on mothers’ vaccination of their children in sub-Saharan Africa
Authors: Jung M., Lin L., and Viswanath K.
Source: Vaccine, 33(22):2551-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.04.021
Topic(s): Child health
Mass media
Country: Africa
   Multiple African Countries
Published: MAY 2015
Abstract: While several studies have examined the crucial role that parents’ vaccination behaviors play in reducing disease spread and severity among children, few have evaluated the connection between parents’ media use and their decision on whether or not to vaccinate their child, specifically in relation to the BCG (Bacillus Calmetter Guerin), DPT (Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus) polio, and measles vaccines. Media channels are a critical source of health information for parents, which is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa, as there is often a dearth of local healthcare providers. The aim of this paper is to investigate the role that media use plays in a mothers’ choice to vaccinate their infant children in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically focusing on whether media use is associated with socioeconomic status (SES) and a mothers’ vaccination of their children. Cross-sectional data from the Demographic Health Surveys of 13 sub-Saharan countries (2004–2010) were pooled. A multivariate Poisson regression of 151,209 women was used to calculate adjusted relative ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the associations among SES, media use, and immunization. Education and wealth were found to be strongly and positively associated with vaccine-uptake behaviors. The effects of media use (radio and television) were found to be associated with the relationships between SES and vaccine uptake. However, it did not reduce the impact of SES on vaccination. These findings indicate that mass media may be an important tool for future efforts to reduce the health discrepancies between children from high- and low-socioeconomic backgrounds. Going forward, immunization strategies should include communication plans that will address and mitigate potential immunization disparities among parents of different SES backgrounds. Keywords • Immunizations; • Child health; • Media use; • Health communication; • Sub-Saharan African countries