State profiles

Where we work

New Delhi

Assam

Andhra Pradesh

Bihar

Chhattisgarh

Gujarat

Jharkhand

Madhya Pradesh

Karnataka

Maharashtra

Orissa

Rajasthan

Tamil Nadu

Uttar Pradesh

West Bengal

 

Panchayat Raj Institutions take up battle against Polio in Bihar

© UNICEF/ 2008
Dr Ranju Gita, Chairperson of Sitamahri Zila Parishad giving polio drops to a new born

Aditya Malaviya

Bihar: “We know that our children can be saved from a number of diseases if properly vaccinated. It is not wise to let our children fall ill due to diseases which can be prevented with proper vaccination,” says Dr. Ranju Gita, Chairperson of Sitamarhi Zila Parishad (district governing body) in Sitamarhi district of Bihar.

With 50 percent reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)  becoming a reality in Bihar, it has opened up a number of development and administrative spaces for women PRI representatives, who are making the most of this opportunity. Today, they can be seen planning for the developmental agenda of their villages, be it in the area of health, education, water supply or livelihoods.

In 185 of 189 blocks, PRI representatives are now involved in supporting polio teams to mobilize the community. As a result, there are 2721 panchayats, blocks or districts wherein the polio drop is administered by PRI representatives, especially during the inauguration of a polio campaign. 

During the period September-October, 2008, data shows that about 20,000 PRI representatives were working with the UNICEF-supported polio programme in Bihar. In fact, the data speaks for itself: in 183 of 189 blocks (a coverage of 97 percent) PRIs have been co-opted to support the micro-planning of polio vaccination rounds. In 185 of 189 blocks, PRI representatives are now involved in supporting polio teams to mobilize the community. As a result, there are 2721 panchayats, blocks or districts wherein the polio drop is administered by PRI representatives, especially during the inauguration of a polio campaign (Source: UNICEF Polio Unit, Patna). 
        
PRI members not only participate actively in promoting the polio campaign, but wherever possible also talk of public initiatives, awareness campaigns and community partnership in addressing the issue. This is reflected in the fact that 1080 community meetings have been attended by PRI representatives in September-October, 2008 alone. Women PRI members like Dr. Ranju Gita are now well-aware of constitutionally approved roles and responsibilities of women in Panchayati Raj systems, as well as government schemes, rules and regulations.

Indicators Number
Number of Gram Panchayats (local governing bodies)       8463
Number of PRIs elected                                             1,15,876
Number of Panchayat Samiti (local governing committees)   531
Number of Samiti members directly elected:                    11566
Number of Zila Parishad                                                      38
Number of Zila Parishad members directly elected             1162
(Source: State Election Commission, Bihar) http://sec.bih.nic.in/FAQ.html

PRI members are now more keen than ever to work with organizations like UNICEF to take ownership of the programme, increasingly participating in the launch of polio rounds in their area, ensuring that posters and banners have been put up and interestingly, keeping vigil on the movement and activities of Anganwadi (child care centre) workers and vaccinators during immunization rounds.This knowledge-led involvement of PRI members has proved fruitful in accelerating the status of routine immunization (RI) and polio eradication campaigns. Members are now more keen than ever to work with organizations like UNICEF to take ownership of the programme, increasingly participating in the launch of polio rounds in their area, ensuring that posters and banners have been put up and interestingly, keeping vigil on the movement and activities of Anganwadi (child care centre) workers and vaccinators during immunization rounds. In fact, many even go the extra mile to help convince families who are apprehensive about the efficacy of the polio vaccine, assuring them repeatedly that it is completely safe for their child.

Many PRI representatives are making their effort more visible at block and village level by administering polio drops to children themselves. During the June, 2008 round alone, 3,155 PRI members took part in inaugurating polio rounds, and more than 1,211 community-level awareness generation meetings were held wherein PRI members themselves took the leadership.

Dr. Gita emphatically says, “Participation of PRI’s in UNICEF-supported polio rounds is critical to the socio-economic progress of our community. PRI members like me should come out and participate in these campaigns because I believe the participation of women will lead to better governance, so that no one is left out of polio and routine immunization rounds”.

For more such stories, please subscribe to our RSS Feed.

 

 

For every child
Health, Education, Equality, Protection
ADVANCE HUMANITY