''Determinants of utilization of immunization services in the low and high under five mortality regions of Kenya''
Under five mortality rates in the developing countries Kenya included has been persistently high with the vaccine preventable childhood diseases attributing highly to these mortality rates. Levels of utilization of immunization services remain persistently low in Kenya despite the increased delivery points through the Kenya Expanded programme on immunization. Little is known of the factors influencing the regional variation of rates of utilization. This study set out to investigate the factors influencing the utilization of immunization services in the low and high under five mortality regions in Kenya. One of the millennium Development goals is the reduction of infant and child mortality by two thirds by 2015. In order to achieve this goal, efforts are concentrated at identifying cost effective strategies as international agencies have advocated for more resources to be directed to health sector to improve the poor utilization of curative and preventive services. One way of doing this is to identify the factors influencing the utilization of immunization services. The results of this study are also expected to assist in the development and improvement of policies and intervention programs such as immunization. It will also contribute to better understanding of the factors influencing the utilization of immunization services. The study used secondary data obtained from KDHS 2003 and focused on 1,206 children aged 12 to 24 months. Cross tabulation was used to examine the hypothesized association between immunization status and various independent variables. Chi square test was carried out to show the level of significance of the association. Logistic regression was applied to show the effect of the selected variables on the dependent variable. The factors that were found to influence utilization of immunization services were maternal education, wealth index, birth order and ethnicity. Wealth index, maternal educations were found to positively and significantly influence the utilization of immunization services in both the high and low under five mortality regions of Kenya. Some ethnic categories were found to have a significant effect on the odds of immunization in both the regions. Birth order was also found to be negatively associated with the utilization of the services in the high under five mortality regions. The study recommends improvement of universal girls' education emphasizing on an increased number of girls going to school, raising economic status of families, discourage social cultural practices that hinder the use of health services. It also advocates for further research to establish the factors influencing the rates of immunization in every province in Kenya, and a further quantitative research at a national level on determinants of utilization of immunization services.