Improving routine immunization coverage through optimally designed predictive models

Fareeha Sameen, Abdul Momin Kazi, Majida Kazmi, Munir A. Abbasi, Saad Ahmed Qazi, Lampros K. Stergioulas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Routine immunization (RI) of children is the most effective and timely public health intervention for decreasing child mortality rates around the globe. Pakistan being a low-and-middle-income-country (LMIC) has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world occurring mainly due to vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). For improving RI coverage, a critical need is to establish potential RI defaulters at an early stage, so that appropriate interventions can be targeted towards such population who are identified to be at risk of missing on their scheduled vaccine uptakes. In this paper, a machine learning (ML) based predictive model has been proposed to predict defaulting and non-defaulting children on upcoming immunization visits and examine the effect of its underlying contributing factors. The predictive model uses data obtained from Paigham-e-Sehat study having immunization records of 3,113 children. The design of predictive model is based on obtaining optimal results across accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity, to ensure model outcomes remain practically relevant to the problem addressed. Further optimization of predictive model is obtained through selection of significant features and removing data bias. Nine machine learning algorithms were applied for prediction of defaulting children for the next immunization visit. The results showed that the random forest model achieves the optimal accuracy of 81.9% with 83.6% sensitivity and 80.3% specificity. The main determinants of vaccination coverage were found to be vaccine coverage at birth, parental education, and socioeconomic conditions of the defaulting group. This information can assist relevant policy makers to take proactive and effective measures for developing evidence based targeted and timely interventions for defaulting children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-395
Number of pages21
JournalComputers, Materials and Continua
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Machine learning
  • Optimization
  • Pakistan
  • Predictive models
  • Routine immunization
  • Vaccine coverage


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