“A Vaccine for all” in rural India
Kala was the 5000th person of the “A Vaccine for All” vaccination program that takes place in rural India, taken forward by the humanitarian organization Shanti Ashram through its International Centre for Child and Public Health (ICPH) of Coimbatore and sustained by the AMU – Azione per un Mondo Unito Onlus (Action for a United World Onlus) and by the “A Vaccine for All” campaign. We narrate to you of the progresses of the campaign.
«I know of being vulnerable because of my 60 years, I’m old and have many risk factors! » tells us Kala who lives in Kuruchi, a village on the outskirts of the city of Coimbatore, where she manages a small grocery store in the neighbourhood. She’s a widow and has a son with whom she lives with, along with his wife and children in a small house. During the worst moments of the pandemic, they lived by the day and lost a lot. Now, things are somewhat improving but their existence is still very difficult, especially because of the permanence of the epidemic.
«The poverty is real for us. It’s a lived experience. My son works by the day and the continuous closures not only put in crisis him and our income but also pushed us in a profound depression. Many women in our neighbourhood died due to the Covid 19 infection, leaving behind small children. The fear was not only for the virus. It was also for death, for the isolation, for the unknown nature of the virus and for the rapid diffusion to all the members of the family».
Some time ago, with a little scepticism, Kala took part in a session of awareness conducted in her city, as a part of the “A Vaccine for All” campaign. When she understood of the assistance provided and the protection offered by the vaccine, she was convinced and was the 5000th person to receive the vaccine. She narrates: «After having assumed both the COVID 19 doses, me and my family are safe and can continue our daily activities. With the vaccination certificate, we can go to the market to buy and sell products. And this has definitely improved our conditions of life! ».
The situation in India
As of December 2021, 50% of the Indian population had received both the doses of the COVID 19 vaccine and 85% of the population, at least one dose.
Despite the great effort of the Indian vaccine campaign, millions of people in the rural areas of the country still do not have access to the vaccine, due to their poverty situations. Many, for example aren’t able to register on the public sanitary portals and access vaccinations, because illiterate, because deprived of internet connection or of a phone capable of connecting. Many aren’t able to do it because sick or because they have no one help them to register or accompany them to the clinics that administer the vaccines.
A Vaccine for All in India
For this the campaign “A Vaccine for All” has directed its second symbol action towards the rural populations of India.
The project “Initiative for rural India” is taken forward in collaboration with the humanitarian organization Shanti Ashram, through its International Centre of Child and Public Health (ICPH) of Coimbatore. The first phase of the project has taken to the creation of informative material in Tamil (the local language) and in English, to sensitize the population on the importance of the vaccine and to unravel some beliefs that obstructed the diffusion of the prevention norms and of the vaccine itself.
The operators on camp, apart from creating awareness, collected data on the more fragile and vulnerable categories that require the vaccine, including families that live in extreme poverty, single mothers, HIV patients and disabled people, besides sustaining the vaccination campaign between the elderly and adolescents.
The research team of Shanti Ashram continued to also conduct analysis and evaluations of the needs, both for personal use as well as for the Tamil Nadu government. The public Research Desk publishes articles on the impact on the COVID 19 on the mental health and on the vulnerable children.
The campaign “A Vaccine for All” from the month of January to July 2022, has sustained the vaccinations of millions of people in the villages of Kulathupalayam, Madampatti, Ettimadai, Vellaloor, Sentamil nagar, Pillayarpuram, Kuruchi, Aandipalayam, Katuri garden, Annanagar, Vaikalpalayam, Nagarajapuram, Sentamilnagar, Gandhinagar, Thiruvalluvarnagar, Ramachettipalayam, Kuniamuthur, Maraimalainaga.