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1.  Vaccination rates in a multicultural population 
Aims: To establish whether there are social or cultural groups of children in Amsterdam with relatively low vaccination coverage for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and poliomyelitis (DPTP), and for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).
Methods: All of the 57 382 children aged between 5 and 12 years and living in Amsterdam on 1 January 2003 were analysed with respect to vaccination and sociodemographic data collected routinely by the Department of Child Health Care. The State Vaccination Programme (SVP) guidelines were adhered to in order to determine vaccination status.
Results: The overall respective DPTP and MMR vaccination rates were 93.0% and 93.9%. No great differences in vaccination levels were found between depressed and affluent areas or between the children of Dutch and non-Dutch mothers. However, foreign children who had been born abroad (Surinam, Morocco, Turkey) were most likely not to have been fully vaccinated. Children who attended anthroposophical schools were also found to be considerably less frequently fully immunised than those at other types of schools.
Conclusions: Vaccination coverage for children domiciled in Amsterdam was very high. Nevertheless, there are groups where the vaccination level is relatively low and social contact is high.
PMCID: PMC1720062  PMID: 15613508
2.  Mothers' reports of infant crying and soothing in a multicultural population 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1998;79(4):312-317.
OBJECTIVES—To investigate the prevalence of infant crying and maternal soothing techniques in relation to ethnic origin and other sociodemographic variables.
DESIGN—A questionnaire survey among mothers of 2-3 month old infants registered at six child health clinics in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
SUBJECTS—A questionnaire on sociodemographic characteristics and crying behaviour was completed for 1826 of 2180 (84%) infants invited with their parents to visit the child health clinics. A questionnaire on soothing techniques was also filled out at home for 1142 (63%) of these infants.
RESULTS—Overall prevalences of "crying for three or more hours/24 hour day", "crying a lot", and "difficult to comfort" were 7.6%, 14.0%, and 10.3%, respectively. Problematic infant crying was reported by 20.3% of the mothers. Of these infants, only 14% met all three inclusion criteria. Problematic crying occurred less frequently among girls, second and later born children, Surinamese infants, and breast fed infants. Many mothers used soothing techniques that could affect their infant's health negatively. Shaking, slapping, and putting the baby to sleep in a prone position were more common among non-Dutch (especially Turkish) mothers than among Dutch mothers. Poorly educated mothers slapped their baby more often than highly educated mothers.
CONCLUSIONS—Mothers' reports of infant crying and soothing varied sociodemographically. Much harm may be prevented by counselling parents (especially immigrants) on how and how not to respond to infant crying. Health education should start before the child's birth, because certain soothing techniques could be fatal, even when practised for the first time.

PMCID: PMC1717709  PMID: 9875040

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