Immunization is the administration of a vaccine usually by injection or by oral or nasal introduction to protect an individual from developing a specific disease or diseases. Immunization exposes one to a very small amount of the most important diseases one is likely to encounter at some point in one’s life. The mild exposure helps one’s immune system recognize and attack the disease efficiently. If one is exposed to the full-blown disease later in life, one will either not become infected or have much less serious infection. This is a natural way to deal with infectious diseases. Throughout human history infectious diseases have caused measureless misery and death. This rampage was unchecked until the twentieth century, when immunization was introduced on a wide scale. This led to the global eradication of small pox. Immunization has greatly reduced the occurrence of measles, pertussis and meningitis. Millions of deaths and other tragedies have been prevented (Novello, 2009).
According to Pediatric Association of Nigeria, PAN (2004), childhood disease has long been a concern to parents and doctors alike. The list of the most common illness is a clear indicator of significance of this issue. From birth, children receive vaccinations to protect against some of the common and dangerous disease. Children are more susceptible to diseases and viruses during infancy because of an undeveloped immune system. Immunization is a form of prevention and should be taken seriously.
According to Guerry (2004), the immunization process starts with a visit to a physician or health care provider, who then refers the infant to the immunization clinic. Medical experts recommend that infants, 18 months and younger should receive the following vaccines;
v Diphtheria tetanus – a cellular (Dtap) that prevents diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
v Hepatitis A and B
v Haemophilus influenza Type B (HiB) that prevents forms of meningitis (brain infection), pneumonia and epiglottitis (a deadly airway infection).
v Polio vaccine inactivated (IPV) that prevents polio.
v Pneumococcal conjugate that prevents other forms of meningitis, pneumonia and bacteremis, a blood infection.
v MMR that prevents measles, mumps and rubella .
v Varicella that helps prevents chicken pox.
Childhood immunization has been called our society’s greatest health care achievement. The development and wide spread use of vaccines has led to the eradication of common childhood diseases. The effectiveness of a vaccine depends on the number of people in a community who have received vaccines. Community immunity is more effective as the percentage of people vaccinated increases. Researchers state that for a vaccine to achieve its objective, immunity must project approximately 95% of the people in the community. People who are not immunized increase the chances that they and others will get the disease. Thus community immunity is thought of as the best.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The operations of the childhood immunization program in Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki are manually carried out, i.e. in keeping records, thereby making the operation slow. As such, the hospital is not able to determine the proportion of children protected by immunization. This work will tend develop a programme aimed at tracking the vaccination status of individual children by immunization registries, which poses a lot of problems.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this project is thus, to develop a computer program that will handle data efficiently and provide health-care providers with timely information of records on childhood immunization in Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki to create, retrieve, delete, maintain, update and handle children’s immunization record with the assistance of a computer.
This project work is also aimed at assisting health-care providers keep records of the periods vaccines were administered to the children.
1.4 Significance of the Project Work
In hospitals, populations of the immunization programs are usually very high and if not computerized, the handling of files and records is always very tasking and time consuming. Records of patients are kept in cards and files that are kept in cupboards, shelves or even on the floor, thereby exposing them to rodents, dirt and even water spillage. To access a file for information one has to spend so much energy and time going through files and cards to get the particular one needed.
This project will alleviate all the problems associated with manual handling of records. A user can access a patient’s record by keying in his/her ID number only and pressing a submit button. The particular information he/she requires will be in the options which he/she will use from and all these will be done in a matter of seconds or very few minutes. This leads to records that are more accurate and accessible than the manual one.
1.5 Scope of Project
This study is primarily meant for Childhood Immunization Department of Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, but can be applied to any other hospital or health centre that operates childhood immunization program. This project looks into the organization of patient’s detailed records like the registration of the patient’s information and the different vaccines to be administered, and also a database administration records for updates.