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Immunisation coverage in rural–urban migrant children in low and middle-income countries (LMICs): a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Abiyemi Benita Awoh,
  2. Emma Plugge
  1. Nuffield Department of Medicine, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Abiyemi Benita Awoh, Nuffield Department of Medicine, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Old Road Campus, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7BN, UK; awohbee{at}


Background The majority of children who die from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) live in low-income and-middle-income countries (LMICs). With the rapid urbanisation and rural–urban migration ongoing in LMICs, available research suggests that migration status might be a determinant of immunisation coverage in LMICs, with rural–urban migrant (RUM) children being less likely to be immunised.

Objectives To examine and synthesise the data on immunisation coverage in RUM children in LMICs and to compare coverage in these children with non-migrant children.

Methods A multiple database search of published and unpublished literature on immunisation coverage for the routine Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) vaccines in RUM children aged 5 years and below was conducted. Following a staged exclusion process, studies that met the inclusion criteria were assessed for quality and data extracted for meta-analysis.

Results Eleven studies from three countries (China, India and Nigeria) were included in the review. There was substantial statistical heterogeneity between the studies, thus no summary estimate was reported for the meta-analysis. Data synthesis from the studies showed that the proportion of fully immunised RUM children was lower than the WHO bench-mark of 90% at the national level. RUMs were also less likely to be fully immunised than the urban-non-migrants and general population. For the individual EPI vaccines, all but two studies showed lower immunisation coverage in RUMs compared with the general population using national coverage estimates.

Conclusions This review indicates that there is an association between rural–urban migration and immunisation coverage in LMICs with RUMs being less likely to be fully immunised than the urban non-migrants and the general population. Specific efforts to improve immunisation coverage in this subpopulation of urban residents will not only reduce morbidity and mortality from VPDs in migrants but will also reduce health inequity and the risk of infectious disease outbreaks in wider society.


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