–Anandu, Attapadi, Kerala
Panaganarapallam is a tribal village in the Pudur Panchayat of Attappady region in the Indian state of Kerala. The village has a scattered settlement where it would require a 500-1000 meter walk in the hilly, muddy pathways to move from one house to another. The residents of Panganarappallam were fearful and hesitant of taking COVID-19 vaccines. The government officials had faced strong resistance from people when they went to this village to vaccinate people. This was clearly seen from the fact that only two individuals were vaccinated in the village.
Sewa International’s partner organization, Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission, working in collaboration with the state health department, took up the challenge to mobilize the villagers for the vaccination camp. On the morning of May 27, 2021, a three-member team of Swami Vivekananda Medical Mission along with the officials of Health department visited the village. Using the community network of SVMM, the team interacted with the local influencers in the village such as the village head or “ooru moopan” and the local health volunteers and took them along and visited each and every household of the village crossing hills, forests and water streams, and explained the importance of vaccination to them in their tribal language.
The results of their efforts were evident at the end of the day, when more than 90% of the 18-45 years old people in the village came forward to get themselves vaccinated. Among them, four individuals could not take vaccines due to some pre-existing systemic diseases. This is an ideal example of the vision of Sewa, “Together We Serve Better” where the public, community and voluntary organization collaborate to address local challenges and overcome difficulties.
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