Vaccination gets ‘smart’ in remote Sohrarim


SHILLONG, May 11: Hunsina Swer, an 84-year-old from Sohrarim, a remote village in Meghalaya was reluctant to take the COVID-19 vaccine owing to a lack of proper information about it.
But she took the jab on May 7, courtesy a vaccination drive conducted by Sohrarim’s smart village movement (SVM) team. The presence of a medical officer at the vaccination site helped break the psychological barrier.
“The check-up before the vaccine made me feel safe,” she said.
She has since been encouraging others to go for the Covishield shot and live safer. Her confidence rubbed off on a few villagers who were initially hesitant.
The medical officer said only 15 out of 81 people above 45 years of age had taken the vaccine before the inoculation drive. More than 60 received the first dose after the drive and all the other eligible villagers do not want to be left behind.
Sohrarim is one of 50 villages where SVM was started in August 2020 for coordinating rural activities across several verticals such as agriculture, education, entrepreneurship, ICT, waste management and healthcare. COVID appropriate behaviour and vaccination were factored in for ensuring community health.
The vaccination drive on May 7 was an outcome of this outreach.
The team carried out a massive community mobilisation exercise to assess the reasons behind the resistance to the vaccine and address the apprehensions. The vaccine was even taken to the doorstep of the last house to instil confidence.
The vaccination drive was conducted at the Polyclinic Health Centre of Gramin Healthcare, one of SVM’s partner companies in Sohrarim. The health centre was set up in March 2021 to cater to the people of Sohrarim and adjoining villages.
This vaccination drive was supported by the Block Development Officer of Laitkroh Block, who vetted the vaccination process. A medical team from Laitryngew Primary Health Centre was also an integral part of the vaccination drive that entailed a week of awareness.
All the villagers over 45 years of age and the drivers who were working during the lockdown were eligible for the vaccination during the drive. People started arriving at the centre by 9:30 am for the drive, and the team made sure the entire process – from registration to the shot – was smooth.
Regibon Sokhlet, the first to take the shot, was satisfied with the process and was happy with how the team assisted her in every step. All the vaccinated people were asked to sit and wait 30 minutes to make sure everything was fine. People who were not able to walk to the centre were picked up from their homes by the team to make sure they took the vaccine.
Villager Pyndapjingsuk Syiemlieh stressed the importance of creating awareness about the vaccine and requested everyone to discuss their concerns with the medical officer.
The medical officer appreciated the effort of the team in mobilising the villagers for the campaign. He was confident of the SVM team ensuring 100% vaccination in Sohrarim at the earliest.