flashlights: in villages of Maharashtra, health teams rely on flashlights for phones, solar street lights | Nashik News

NASHIK: Smartphone flashlights and solar street lights turn out to be Covid vaccinators’ SOS kit after sunset in several remote villages in Nandurbar district in northern Maharashtra.
When a four-member health team recently visited the village of Malgaon in Shahada taluka of Nandurbar, the entire hamlet had plunged into darkness due to the outage. It was impossible for the team members to vaccinate even one person in such a situation.
The team was however determined to vaccinate at least some of the villagers and, after a quick thought, they turned on the flashlights on their cell phones and helped the vaccinators administer the vaccines.
The health team encountered a similar obstacle days later in the village of Vadagaon, just 15 km from Malgaon. Fortunately, the solar street lights were functional in the village and the vaccination team continued their mission.
Malgon and Vadagaon are not the only villages in Nandurbar where health teams on vaccination missions rely on flashlights, cell phones or solar street lights to vaccinate citizens.
Dr Mahendra Chavan, district health officer, told TOI: “A section of our health teams face similar problems daily, in at least 8-10 villages, where power cuts are frequent. The teams visit the homes of the beneficiaries and use the flashlights of the mobile phones to vaccinate. They also gather the beneficiaries under solar street lights and administer the vaccines.
As Nandurbar’s immunization progress is extremely slow, the local administration, headed by district collector Manisha Khatri, has made every effort to improve immunization coverage in the district. Nandurbar is in last position among the 35 districts of Maharashtra in terms of anti-Covid vaccination coverage.
“When the Centre’s door-to-door campaign kicked off on November 3, we realized that increasing immunization coverage during the day would remain a major challenge. We decided that our health teams would visit the villages in the evening, after the beneficiaries returned from work, ”added Dr Chavan.
Nandurbar zilla parishad mobilized 180 health teams – each team comprising four members – who continue to reach the villages of the six talukas after 5.30 p.m. to vaccinate the villagers. The teams spend around 2-3 hours in each village. The result seems encouraging, as vaccination coverage has improved considerably. Over the past month, more than 3.03 lakh doses have been administered, most of which are the beneficiaries’ first injections, the district health official said.
“Visibility is not a problem when smartphone flashlights or streetlights are used to immunize people. I was part of the Vadagaon team, who performed the immunization under the solar street light. had no problems, “Dr Sachin Pawara, community health officer from Shahada Taluka, said. Evening sessions in the villages are planned a few days in advance and the local gram pradhan and Asha’s employee are notified of the event.
The objective is to mobilize the beneficiaries. On vaccination day, team members travel either in a government vehicle or on their two-wheelers to reach the designated villages. “There is still some hesitation about the vaccine among part of the population in many villages. It takes a lot of persuasion before they agree to be vaccinated,” said a health official.


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