In Madhya Pradesh, a prayer to keep health workers going

According to State Immunisation Officer Dr Santosh Shukla, 24,218 field workers and 10,050 supervisors are engaged in the campaign that involves several challenges like migration by the potential beneficiaries, tendency to avoid vaccines and access to difficult terrains.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Updated: January 8, 2018 11:20:48 am
Given that MP has a large forest cover, the workers had to access more than 1,000 villages located in deep forests, a task made possible by involvement of Van Samitis and help from forest rangers who occasionally helped by providing vehicles. (Representational Image)

De/Hame/Permanent/Daya, Isi Prakar/Teri/Roj/Bhagwan/Mere/O

The above “Cold Chain Prayer” may not ring a bell for most people but for health workers behind the immunisation drive in Madhya Pradesh, it’s a pointer to the exact order that the vaccines have to be stored in ice-lined refrigerators (ILRs). This mnemonic prayer — each word corresponds to terms like diluent, pentavalent and BCG — is one of the innovations thought up in Madhya Pradesh for the implementation of the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI), and is now being followed in some other states.

MP has the distinction of being the first state to use ‘eVIN, the electronic vaccination intelligence network that allows effective management of vaccine logistics. The electronic vaccine tracking system won MP an award at the National Summit on Good and Replicable Practices and Innovations in the Public Healthcare System.  Thirteen districts and the city of Indore are part of IMI from Madhya Pradesh. In the first three phases of the project as many as 2,23,443 children and 48,484 pregnant women have been covered. The fourth and last phase of the programme will begin on January 7.

According to State Immunisation Officer Dr Santosh Shukla, 24,218 field workers and 10,050 supervisors are engaged in the campaign that involves several challenges like migration by the potential beneficiaries, tendency to avoid vaccines and access to difficult terrains, especially in tribal dominated Alirajpur and Jhabua districts.

Given that MP has a large forest cover, the workers had to access more than 1,000 villages located in deep forests, a task made possible by involvement of Van Samitis and help from forest rangers who occasionally helped by providing vehicles. Those involved in the campaign recounted tales of how reluctant some tribal families are for vaccination either due to lack of awareness, illiteracy or reliance on quacks. “Some of them ask why get injections when the child and mother are healthy,’’ says Dr Ashwin Bhagwat.

Dr Shukla said an internal monitoring mechanism was developed by training 132 educated multipurpose workers to given unbiased feedback about the progress of the programme in neighbouring districts. Among the innovations used in MP were use of henna (on the hands of women) and rangoli outside homes to spread awareness about immunization and to remind the beneficiaries of next phase of programme.

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