Practical experience of vaccinators and vaccine handlers in vaccine cold chain management: A phenomenological study
Background: As the means of storing and transporting vaccines while maintaining their potency, cold chain storage is the most critical element of immunization. This study explores factors that contribute to vaccine wastage in public health facilities in Oromia Special Zone, Ethiopia, and focuses on how this knowledge can empower public health governors’ efforts in relation to effective vaccine cold chain management.
Methods: A phenomenological study design was employed with key informants (n=13). Data-driven coding was used and content analysis was performed using NVivo 11 plus. A narrative strategy was also employed.
Results: The present study identified a range of factors that contribute to vaccine wastage related to logistics, immunization practices, vial size, health professionals, and institutions. The presence of one these factors may trigger the appearance of another. The identified factors should be considered as complementary, and the notable consensus among key informants made the results generic and relevant to vaccination service around the world.
Conclusions: Various factors contribute to vaccine wastage. The contributing factors for vaccine wastage identified in this study should be considered by health professionals and public health governors when drafting and implementing intervention strategies for improving vaccine cold chain management for similar health facilities operating around the world. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2021; 35(1):29-37]
Key words: Vaccine wastage, contributing factors, cold chain management.