"In a world where our actions have the power to shape the lives of others, I am a firm believer that contributing to the well-being of fellow human beings generates the most joy and fulfillment." Rosyana Lievanty is a national UN Volunteer Health Officer with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Indonesia. She helps ensure that children and adults living in remote areas have access to life-saving immunizations.
According to the latest data on immunization in Indonesia, published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in July 2022, the country has experienced a significant decline in basic immunization coverage. From 84.2 per cent in 2020, the coverage rate dropped to 79.6 percent in 2021. This decline is being attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Health indicates that the existing gap in child immunization coverage signals heightened vulnerability to outbreaks of preventable diseases and has called for urgent action to address this issue.
Rosyana Lieyanty is a national UN Volunteer Health Officer on Immunization with UNICEF Indonesia in Kupang. Her primary role is to accelerate the pace of immunization programmes, especially in rural areas of East Nusa Tenggara province, which comprises three large and several small islands.
Rosyana has made a significant contribution to immunization efforts in remote areas of East Nusa Tenggara. Her support has been instrumental in helping us achieve our targets and ensuring the well-being of communities, leaving no one behind. --Vama Chrisnadarmani Taolin, Health Specialist with UNICEF, Kupang Field Office, and Rosyana’s supervisor
Three areas of intervention frame Rosyana's contribution. The first is creating an enabling environment for successful immunization programmes. Rosyana actively engages in high-level advocacy to accelerate immunization coverage and COVID-19 vaccination.
The second area of intervention revolves around the supply side. Rosyana and her team ensure that the government and health workers get the technical assistance necessary for the smooth functioning of the programme. This encompasses recording and reporting of technical data, vaccine cold chain storage management, ensuring vaccine availability and managing logistics.
On the demand side, UNICEF collaborates with the government on activities to boost community engagement with vaccines. This includes organizing workshops that involve religious and community leaders, engaging cross-sectoral journalists and implementing mass online campaigns to raise awareness. Moreover, UNICEF strives to involve multiple sectors in educating the public about the significance of vaccines and dispelling any misconceptions associated with them.
Rosyana found great inspiration in monitoring and supportive supervision with the District Health Office. This involved overseeing cold chain storage management at a public health centre in Kupang District, known for its challenging environment and limited infrastructure.
The dedication of the health workers in Kupang deeply touched me. They struggled to obtain vaccines and logistics from the District Centre. Personally, I had to endure a 10-hour journey from Kupang to reach them, while ensuring strict maintenance of vaccine storage requirements in temperatures of 2-8 degrees.
"Health workers had to go one-by-one to houses located far apart in mountainous areas to ensure that children get complete immunizations and people have their COVID-19 vaccinations," Rosyana explains enthusiastically. "I am proud and inspired to be part of the UNICEF team catering to the needs of local communities in East Nusa Tenggara."
This article was prepared with the kind support of Online Volunteer Kathakali Das Bhaumik.