Objective The objective of the study was to examine the association between maternal healthcare utilisation and complete childhood vaccination in sub-Saharan Africa.
Design Our study was a cross-sectional study that used pooled data from 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Participants A total of 60 964 mothers of children aged 11–23 months were included in the study.
Outcome variables The main outcome variable was complete childhood vaccination. The explanatory variables were number of antenatal care (ANC) visits, assistance during delivery and postnatal care (PNC).
Results The average prevalence of complete childhood vaccination was 85.6%, ranging from 67.0% in Ethiopia to 98.5% in Namibia. Our adjusted model, children whose mothers had a maximum of three ANC visits were 56% less likely to have complete vaccination, compared with those who had at least four ANC visits (adjusted OR (aOR)=0.44, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.46). Children whose mothers were assisted by traditional birth attendant/other (aOR=0.43, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.56) had lower odds of complete vaccination. The odds of complete vaccination were lower among children whose mothers did not attend PNC clinics (aOR=0.26, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.29) as against those whose mothers attended.
Conclusion The study found significant variations in complete childhood vaccination across countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Maternal healthcare utilisation (ANC visits, skilled birth delivery, PNC attendance) had significant association with complete childhood vaccination. These findings suggest that programmes, interventions and strategies aimed at improving vaccination should incorporate interventions that can enhance maternal healthcare utilisation. Such interventions can include education and sensitisation, reducing cost of maternal healthcare and encouraging male involvement in maternal healthcare service utilisation.