The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
MUK and AH contributed to concept development, questionnaire design, data analysis and interpretation, manuscript preparation and finalization. TA and SS contributed to concept development and data collection. QI and JI contributed to manuscript preparation and manuscript finalization. MUK^ contributed to data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript finalization. (MUK^ = Muhammad Ubaid Khan). All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Despite the efforts of national and international organizations, polio has not been eradicated from Pakistan. The prevalence of polio in Pakistan is exceptional in global context. Quetta and Peshawar divisions are amongst the most affected regions hit by polio in Pakistan. This study was carried out to assess the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions towards polio immunization among residents of Quetta and Peshawar divisions in Pakistan.
A descriptive, cross-sectional study involving 768 participants was conducted from August to December, 2014 in Quetta and Peshawar divisions in Pakistan. Multistage sampling technique was used to draw a sample of residents from each division. A pre-tested, self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data from eligible participants. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were used to express the results.
A total of 38.8 % participants exhibited good knowledge about polio. Mean knowledge score of the participants was 7.35 ± 2.54 (based on 15 knowledge questions). Older age (p < 0.001), low qualification (p < 0.05), rural locality (p < 0.05) and Quetta division (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with poor knowledge of polio. A large proportion of participants displayed negative attitudes towards polio immunization (84.8 %), with a mean score of 19.19 ± 2.39 (based on 8 attitude statements). Lack of education (p < 0.001) and rural residence (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with the negative attitudes of participants towards polio immunization. False religious beliefs (39.06 %), lack of knowledge (33.7 %), fear of infertility by polio vaccines (32.16 %) and security issues (29.42 %) were reported by the participants as the main barriers towards polio immunization.
The findings of this study showed poor knowledge and negative attitudes of participants towards polio immunizations. Religious beliefs and lack of knowledge about polio immunization were reported as the major barriers towards polio immunization.