Meeting with parents
One of the most effective ways to get a range of opinions in a short space of time might be to arrange small focus groups, with clear guidelines from you about the topic that the discussion should ‘focus’ on. The ideal number of participants in a focus group is between six and ten, with a facilitator who keeps the discussion focused on the agreed topic (in this case, immunization) and makes sure that everyone’s views are heard. You could select particular participants, such as parents you think may be unlikely to bring their children for immunization.
You may also talk to parents one-to-one when they visit the health facility and find out about their experiences (good and bad) with the immunization services provided. In particular, you should try to reach those parents in the community who, for one reason or another, do not visit the health facility. Interview the mothers who do attend the health facility first, since they are readily accessible and are often willing to talk about their experience of the services. In addition they may suggest ways of reaching those who do not use the health facilities.
When meeting with parents, what might you want to find out?
- what they already know about immunization
- what concerns they may have about immunization
- their traditional beliefs about disease or immunization
- any barriers to accessing existing services
- if the times and locations of immunization sessions are appropriate
- what they think about the quality of the service provided
- how they think the service could be improved.