Review | Volume 18: 28 | 23 Apr 2023

Aligning theory with practice: Child health programmes in Malaysia, a Narrative Review


Introduction: The Malaysian healthcare system, particularly for maternal and child health, has been well recognised to provide high-quality services and be at par with systems in other developed countries. Current health programmes and technological advancements effectively detect vulnerable groups of children, such as small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants, antenatally. However, the postnatal care for SGA infants is not clearly evaluated, as this group of children is mostly classified as healthy in many medical contexts, especially in primary care settings. Available health programmes and healthcare service delivery must be continuously evaluated by implementing beneficial and relevant evidence-based theories.
Methods: Articles, reports and guidelines used in providing mother and child health services in Malaysia published since 2000 were reviewed.
Results: There was no specific monitoring strategy used for SGA infants without critical health issues in early childhood, as they were commonly treated as healthy infants. Several challenges in aligning theory with the current practice of healthcare service delivery and recommendations for dealing with such challenges were identified.
Conclusion: The alignment of theory with the current practice of service delivery should be tailored to the needs and demands parallel to the dynamic change in populations in the urbanisation era.