- Polling Booths in Assam have been converted into vaccination centres
- Many locals were apprehensive about getting vaccinated: ASHA Worker
- Booth level officers are identifying beneficiaries based on survey
New Delhi: In Assam, only 1.72 crore people, about half the state’s population, have received one dose of the COVID vaccine till now. To improve the pace of the vaccination drive, at least in and around Guwahati, the government is improvising by turning polling booths into vaccination centres and using electoral rolls to identify those left out. The target is to cover over 200,000 people in the region.
To meet this target, over 200 such facilities have already been converted in Kamrup Metro district, where almost 80 per cent of the 12 lakh beneficiaries have been inoculated through these centres.
One such polling centre is in Dimoria, on the outskirts of Kamrup Metro district, around 60 kilometres east of Guwahati, where people queue up outside as if they are waiting to vote. However, these people have gathered to access their COVID-19 vaccine.
Laxmi Boro, one of the beneficiaries, had cast her vote at the same centre a few months ago, during the Assam assembly polls.
Today, 27-year-old Ms Boro visited it again, but this time to get her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
She was one of the hundreds identified in the survey by booth level officers, the local representatives of the Election Commission of India.
I was missing out on the second dose because I didn’t know where to get it. Then the local ASHA worker told me about this special drive. I waited from 9 am and my toddler was disturbing me, but I still managed, Ms Boro tells NDTV.
Based on a survey using the voter lists, booth level officers, have been identifying those who have been left out for availing COVID Vaccine. Harendra Boro, a booth level officer, told NDTV,
From the survey, we found the ‘left out’ voters and we listed them out. We also helped collect their phone numbers. They were contacted after we gave the list to the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
For health workers based in the rural areas of Assam, this initiative has come as a blessing. Many locals were apprehensive about getting vaccinated for fear of dying or even losing their reproductive health, Sahana Begum, an ASHA worker from Kamrup tells NDTV.
But as booth level officers came into the picture and even government teachers were used to convince people, those who missed out have now turned up, Ms Begum informed.
COVID-19 in Assam
On Monday, August 30, 2021, Assam reported 15 deaths due to COVID-19, while 538 people tested positive, against the testing of 9,140 samples, pushing the total cases to 5,88,856, as per the data from the state’s Health Department. The current fatality rate in the state is 0.96 per cent and the positivity rate is at 0.68 per cent.
Out of the new cases, the highest 103 patients were detected from Kamrup Metro, followed by 37 in Jorhat, 34 in Golaghat, and 33 in Tinsukia. The current recovery rate of COVID-19 patients in the state is 97.86 per cent. The state has inoculated over 1.72 crore people to date, of whom 30,77,059 have received both doses.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.