Since its launch at the Attari Border in Punjab in April, 2021, Sanjeevani campaign has come a long way on breaking vaccine hesitancy and taking vaccination to rural India in five districts. From Attari to Dakshina Kannada, Sanjeevani campaign has become a movement of rural communities in the fight against COVID-19. As of 7th August, the Sanjeevani campaign has reached 502 villages in five districts- Amritsar, Indore, Nashik, Dakshin Kannada and Guntur. Through this, the campaign has reached out to almost 2.5 lakh citizens with vaccination message with local context. More than 20000 citizens have been helped with vaccination through registrations, transportation etc.
The campaign works on a multistakeholder partnership model. COVID-19 pandemic is a too large a crisis for any one stakeholder to address. Hence, it is important to bring all stakeholders such as government, frontline health workers, local community leaders, community members together to take the vaccine to the rural parts of the country.
While the campaign has been instrumental in getting vaccination to the rural communities, the journey has not been without challenges. Especially in tribal and remote present areas which present massive challenges in terms of accessibility and vaccine hesitancy. The campaign strategy of door to door communication had to be augmented to suit local context and cultural aspects in the communities. For this, campaign team mobilises local community leaders such as gram panchayat members, religious leaders etc. to impart campaign messages. Such local community is vital to the success of Sanjeevani campaign.
Another challenge is of access to the public vaccination centres for communities in remote rural and tribal communities. Sanjeevani campaign has worked extensively to bridge this gap by facilitating conveyance of people to the vaccination centres. Thus the campaign has reached to the most difficult to reach areas which are largely out of the ambit of the conventional health care services. In some cases, the Sanjeevani Gaadi has also been used to transport public health officials to the far off villages and communities for administering vaccination shots at the door step itself.
The current second phase of the pandemic wreaked havoc in rural parts of the country. The imminent third wave is also believed to be severe for rural areas. Sanjeevani campaign has undertaken a unique intervention that looks at augmenting public health infrastructure in rural part to ensure that they can administer vaccine shots in the most effective and safest way. A thorough needs assessment was conducted of 100 vaccination centres to understand requirements of medical supplies which are vital for a robust infection prevention control in the vaccination centers in consultation with the government health officials. Today, these 100 vaccination centres are functional with supplies required to follow robust safety protocols.
These interventions coupled with enthusiastic community participation and local government support has helped in breaking vaccine hesitancy. In fact, the villages which have been covered are now eager to get their vaccine shots. The campaign will continue this movement to ensure everyone gets inoculated with ease. It’s time to join this movement because health of anyone anywhere is the health for everyone, everywhere.