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Evaluation of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) Delivery during 1996 National Immunization Days, Riyadh Region, Saudi Arabia.*


National Immunization Days (NIDs) are one of four strategies to achieve poliomyelitis eradication recommended by WHO. Saudi Arabia completed two National Immunization Days (NIDs) during years 1995 and 1996. Each consisted of 2 rounds of OPV given one month apart to all children under 5 years old. We evaluated delivery of oral poliovaccine (OPV) during the 1996 NIDs in Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia.


We selected a probability sample of 40 PHCC catchment areas (clusters) proportionate to the number of children under 5 years old in the area from Riyadh region. We asked parents in face to face interviews whether or not the child had received OPV during the NIDs of the years 1995 and 1996.


During the 1996 NID, 93.8% of the target population (95% CI=91%-96%) received at least one dose of OPV and 83% (95% CI=79%-86%) received two doses of OPV. Mobile vaccination teams that paid door-to-door house visits administered 67% (95% CI=63-70.5) of OPV doses, PHCCs gave 25.4% (95% CI= 22-30), private hospitals 6.1% (95% CI=4.3-8.4), and governmental hospitals 1.8% (95% CI=0.8-3). Parents heard about the NID mainly (73.8%; 95% CI=70-80) through national television broadcasting. Parents stated that reasons for failure to vaccinate children were because they were busy (28%; 95% CI=16.5-41), or the vaccination team did not visit their houses (25.3%; 95% CI=13.6-37.3).


NIDs conducted in Riyadh region fulfilled the criteria set by the WHO for a maximally effective NID. The role of hospitals during the second NID in Riyadh region was negligible. Involving mosques, schools, volunteers and advertising on the backs of electrical and telephone bills of future NIDs would help to increase public awareness of NIDs.