Universal Health Coverage Day: Better health through immunisation

Submitted by ICN
December 8, 2020

Universal Health Coverage Day: Improving the health of mothers and children through immunisation

Contributor: Norazlina Md Jazli, Malaysia

Universal Health Coverage Day will be celebrated on 12 December with this year’s theme: Health for All: protect everyone. The key message of the day is that to end this crisis and build a safer and health future, we must invest in health systems that protect us all – now! With that in mind, we bring you a case study from Malaysia where nurses are working to ensure the protection of mothers and children through immunisation.

Selangor is a state on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, encircling the capital Kuala Lumpur. Due to the rise of an anti-vaccine group in the region, parents and guardians have been refusing vaccines and this has resulted in a measles outbreak, with cases increasing from 99 in 2014 to 154 in 2018. More recently, a paediatrician spoke out on the low levels of vaccination against measles and chickenpox during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing a 72% decrease in the MMR vaccine uptake in April 2020 compared to April 2019.1

A study was carried out in an independent community in the Rawang area with a population of about 200 adults and children. Research was carried out in order to find out why this community were refusing vaccines.

As a result, health education was provided to increase awareness among parents and guardians, and the head of the community allowed the nearest public health clinic care team to enter the community and give services such as immunisation to the children every month.

The programme provided maternal and perinatal health services, child health services and women’s health services. By the end of the project, almost all children in the community had been immunised. Nurses played an important role in providing adequate health education to parents and guardians especially related to immunisation and how it can save lives. It was important for the public health information to stress to Muslim families that the vaccines are permissible or “halal”.

For more information on the role of nurses in immunisation, see our 2018 publication here

1 Boo SL (16 July 2020). “Measles, Chickenpox Vaccinations Stay Low After Worrying Drop During MCO” Code Blue, available here

Find the original article on our ICN website for more details and the French and Spanish versions