SRINAGAR, June 7: Village Weyan of district Bandipora of Jammu & Kashmir has become the first village of the country, where entire populations above 18 years have been vaccinated. This national record is attributed to the ‘J&K Model’ under which the administration decided to reach out to the people, instead of people coming to the vaccination centre.
Dr. Bashir Ahmed Khan, Chief Medical Officer, Bandipora said due to difficult terrain the vaccinators had to walk around 18 KMs on foot to reach this village.
“It’s a village of Nomads having no access to internet so the health officials decided to take a difficult journey in this north Kashmir village and save precious lives. There is no route and it is a very dangerous trek but we didn’t rest until the last eligible person got the vaccine dose,”
Dr. Bashir Ahmed Khan, Chief Medical Officer, Bandipora said further adding that the village is at a distance of 28 KMs from Bandipora town and initial 10 KMS by journey is by road up to a place called Athwatoo, then 18 KMs by foot located on the hills.
“Entire populations above 18 years were vaccinated, with total of 362 beneficiaries. It is pertinent to mention here that the people of the village go to the upper reaches along with cattle during summer so it was important to reach out to them before they move out,” Dr. Bashir Further observed.
“J&K Model” has adopted 10-point strategy to vaccinate the entire eligible population at accelerated pace. Despite initial vaccine hesitancy, the current achievement is more than 70% for above 45 years of age, which is just double the national average.
The first strategy is booth-level management involving preparation of eligible population list followed by “Vaccine on Wheels” – reaching out to people in far-flung areas.
State Immunization Officer Dr Shahid Hussain said a maximum number of session sites in a day with well-coordinated vaccination efforts is also paying the dividend.
“We have also worked out prior micro-planning and execution at each session site and involved Police and Media in crowd management and awareness. We have constituted in every district a dedicated team of health care workers, who were ready to work even during holidays and weekends. Coordination between various departments, like Utilization of services of teachers and Booth Level Officers as verifiers and their training by Directorate of Health and Family Welfare as another key feature of J&K model,” Dr Shahid Hussain said.
Dr. Shahid observed that despite having difficult terrain (Shopian, Ganderbal) and poor mobile connectivity, the teams were relentless to vaccinate far-reaching corners of the district and deploying influencers such as religious leaders, local elders to counter vaccine hesitancy among people.