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Responding to a measles outbreak in a Pacific island community in western Sydney: Community interviews led to church-based immunization clinics

International Literature

posted by WM Admin on 2015-05-13 09:23:40.885

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International

There are large Pacific island communities in western and south-western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. In 2011 and 2012, measles outbreaks disproportionally affected children and youth within these communities.

The objectives of this study were to explore barriers to immunisation in a Pacific island community from the perspectives of community members and health professionals and to conduct a pilot programme whereby immunisation catch-up clinics were held in a Samoan church in western Sydney. 

Interviews were conducted with 12 Pacific island community members and 7 health professionals connected with the Pacific island community in 2013. A partnership with a local Samoan church was established to provide an accessible venue for immunisation catch-up clinics. 

Among the community members there were high levels of belief in the importance of immunisation and a positive view regarding the protection offered by immunisation. A key barrier reported by community members was being busy and therefore having limited time to get children immunised. The important role of the church within the community was emphasised in the interviews, and as a result, two immunisation catch-up clinics were held in a Samoan church in western Sydney. The age range of attendees was 7–33 years. A total of 31 measles, mumps and rubella doses and 19 meningococcal C doses were given during the two clinics. 

The authors conclude that the outcomes of the interviews and the subsequent clinics highlighted the potential of churches as a venue for providing public health interventions such as catch-up immunisation.

This article can be read in free full text at: http://ojs.wpro.who.int/ojs/index.php/wpsar/article/view/277/461  

Scott N et al. Responding to a measles outbreak in a Pacific Island community in Western Sydney: community interviews led to church-based immunization clinics.Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal, 2015, 6(2).