High turnout In socio- politically disturbed Manipur in second round of Immunization Week
(Story by Dr.Sanjeev Badiger, edited by Dr. Pravin H Khobragade)
The strike in Chaurachandpur district did not deter Ibemma of Sekti village from bringing her one-year-old brother Ningchu for vaccination. Like most people in Chaurachandpur, Ibemma’s parents work as agricultural laborers, away from home, during the day . Eight-year-old Ibemma walked for three kilometers from her field house, accompanied by Moikham – an anganwadi worker, crossing hilly terrain and reached Sekti subcentre. Ningchu received vaccination for the first time ever and was administered measles vaccine, DPT, OPV and Vitamin A.
Many other children like Ningchu were reached during the 2nd round of a week long initiative of vaccinating missed out or drop out beneficiaries. This led to the coverage reaching more than four percent of the annual target for almost all the antigens in a week. This unprecedented turnout has never ever been witnessed earlier in this state in the history of Indian Immunization Programme. Even the 1st round of immunization week had a turnout of one percent of the annual target. The expected coverage during any week for theroutine immunization programme is two percent. Past records show that only 70% of the children were reached by routine vaccinations thus reaching to less than 2% of children during each week. The good turn over during the troubled times in the state shall cover many more children.
The 1st round of the immunization week suffered from poor publicity of the initiative. This led to a poor turnout as communities were not aware of the opportunity of vaccination. Before and during the 2nd round of the immunization week, the state intensively carried out an information campaign. There were announcements made in the Church, banners and posters were displayed and volunteers came forward to make mike announcements about the special immunization services at the session site. The interpersonal communication between the health and anganwadi workers also played a key role in dissemination of information about the drive.
Ibemma was informed of this unique opportunity by Moikham. Though the bandh paralysed the life in Chauranchandpur district, good publicity of the round led to many children being vaccinated during the hazardous period.