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A big challenge of vaccination in rural areas

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Health has hoped to get 40-50 crore vaccine doses for about 25 crore people by July 2021.

vaccination, rural india, covid vaccine, coronavirus
Image: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

The second wave of Coronavirus has ended in India. Researchers have revealed in different studies that the second wave of coronavirus has proved to be more dangerous than the first, and the third will be more dangerous in compression another wave. But the increase in vaccination work in the country will definitely get relief.

The government hopes that in this phase of vaccination, 30 crore people will be vaccinated by August. In the first phase, more than one crore health workers and frontline workers have been vaccinated. It is noteworthy that a target has been set to vaccinate 1.3 billion people within two years. This means that if there is a two-dose vaccine, the management of 2.6 billion vaccines means that more than 3 million vaccines will be applied daily. If people who have acquired immunity from the coronavirus are excluded from the vaccine, then the potential figure may be slightly lower. But the biggest question here is, will it be easy to fulfil this goal of two years? Certainly, this two-year marathon is difficult, and the reason for this difficulty is to make vaccination successful in rural and backward areas. It is well known that the lesser the difference in vaccination in rural and urban districts, the more help the states will have to deal with the increasing daily cases. That is, the emphasis should be on vaccination in rural areas as much as in urban areas. In fact, only then the rural areas will be protected from the grip of the Coronavirus.

Last year, the NITI Aayog released a list of the 101 most backward districts, presenting the picture of the country’s backwardness. There is no one reason for the backwardness of these districts, there are many reasons. As they are located in remote areas, road and railway connectivity are poor. These backward districts either often face drought or have to face floods. The population of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Minorities is also high. In such a situation, the challenge increases more in rural and tribal areas. The primary health centres of such areas either have no employees or are few in number. In some places, such centres do not exist. In such a situation, it is necessary to do more than necessary to get the vaccination done in a smooth manner.

According to the World Health Organization, 60 per cent of India’s 2 million health care workers are present in urban areas only. Tell that at present, there are 6,28,221 villages in India and 60 per cent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. This means that the governments will not only have to activate the existing health network, but in a short time, by training millions of new people, its scope will have to increase more and more. About 24 lakh Anganwadi workers engaged in rural health care can be helpful in this. But it is important to note that they will also need to be trained. By the way, his experience is mainly to run vaccination programs for newborns. The question is, will the Anganwadi workers be enough for this work?

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Health has hoped to get 40-50 crore vaccine doses for about 25 crore people by July 2021. We can also run a crash course for training of temporary health workers or Anganwadi workers in order to fulfil this goal properly. So that trained health workers can be prepared quickly. But vaccine wastage is also becoming a cause for concern in the recent past. The Health Ministry had issued a directive to the states for storage of vaccines that it would be necessary to keep the vaccines between 2-8 degree Celsius temperature. Lack of proper compliance is also causing vaccine waste.

Significantly, the Central Government had said on the previous day that the wastage of vaccine in five states is more than the national average of 6.5 per cent. The five states in which the wastage of vaccine doses in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir is more than the national average of 6.5 per cent. These states will have to think at their level that the vaccines of Kovid-19 are invaluable, it is for the betterment of the health of the people. So, how can it be used in an economical way by preventing its waste? According to the assessment, 17.6 per cent of vaccines have been destroyed in Telangana state and 11.6 per cent in Andhra Pradesh. The main reason for vaccine waste has been arbitrariness, lack of training and apathy. Therefore, the states will have to train health workers and create an effective cold house network in a short time. Apart from this, refrigerated delivery vans will also have to be arranged to deliver the vaccine in remote areas, otherwise, the vaccine will continue in the same way and vaccination in rural areas can be very difficult if the same sequence continues.

As a result, the private sector will also have to come forward in the rural vaccination campaign. But before that, the government will have to make it necessary to take responsibility for the vaccines of its employees and also to incorporate the covitization program in corporate social responsibility. Significantly, if the private sector medical infrastructure is used, India can vaccinate 50 crore people in less than 6 weeks, in which case the increasing concerns of the central and state governments related to vaccination will be reduced to some extent. But vaccination in rural and tribal areas is not so easy. The biggest thing is the challenge of vaccination in Naxalite areas. In the midst of the threat of Corona, Naxalites can carry out such incidents like the robbery of the vaccine. It will be the responsibility of the security agencies to carry the vaccine safely to the centre. There are many Naxalite affected areas in Bastar, where there have been reports of Naxalites coming under the grip of Corona from time to time. During the lockdown, a female Naxalite commander was found in the forest in the Modakpal area of Bijapur district, which was found to be Corona positive. It was learned that Naxalites have not survived from Corona. Therefore, the police administration fears that the Naxalites may rob the Corona vaccine. At all these levels, some such efforts will be required to meet the challenges. In which the first level, to create awareness and confidence in the vaccine among the people there. Recently, religious, community and tribal heads of Chhattisgarh gave their support for the corona vaccination rollout in the state.

Similarly, in other states also, this initiative should be taken by tribal heads, so that trust and appropriate information can be promoted in tribal and backward people. The second level, to get them out of the problem that if they do not have smartphones etc. how and where will they register themselves? If the ordinary citizens have to register themselves online for the vaccine, then problems will certainly arise at the rural level outside the cities and if online registration work is entrusted to ASHA workers and ANM, then problems will also arise because they already have healthcare There is a lot of burdens.

The survey has revealed that only 37 per cent of the villagers have smartphones. In such a big question, if online registration is mandatory, how will the villagers be able to register for the vaccine? In such a situation, it will be necessary that online registration centres should be set up in rural areas. There are already rural service centres in India which is a very large and wide network. If the Indian government takes their cooperation, then it will be better for the villagers along with the government. It can also be appropriate that when the rural people go to a government or private hospital, there is quick registration and vaccination.

If such a facility is available, and rural people are aware of it, then the campaign of vaccination in rural areas will become very easy. Here the role of village head also emerges. The head of each village should take the responsibility that people should stay away from maximum rumors and make the vaccination successful by getting proper information. For this, the village head should prepare a list of the people of his village at his level and should motivate them for vaccination and declare their village corona free. If the village head takes up such a responsibility, then there can be a lot of convenience in the work of the government. At the same time, rural people also get out of vaccine hegemony in vaccination. Public participation should be encouraged, not due to rumors, to show indifference towards vaccination. This corona vaccination is similar to the vaccination, as many vaccinations are taking place in India so don’t panic.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Lalji Jayswal
Freelance writer, columnist, blogger, physical yoga instructor and National record holder ("India book of records" 2021)

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