Save the Children Fund and the Ministry of Health in Somalia used focus group discussions, key informant interviews and observation to identify factors influencing the acceptance of immunisation. Focus groups consisted of mothers of different ages, Mother and Child Health staff and Traditional Birth Attendants. Three researchers lived with families in the community for 12 weeks. The team found that there were widespread misconceptions regarding the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). All health campaigns were regarded with suspision by the community because of the sensitive political situation. Suggestions are made for adapting future health messages to take into account local perceptions of disease.
This article will be of particular interest to health promoters working in an environment where communities regard government campaigns with suspicion.