KOZHIKODE: "Local bodies are the biggest weapon in our arsenal," says Wayanad Collector Adeela Abdulla on the hilly district's terrific performance in COVID-19 vaccination.
"We used it, igniting a competitive spirit among them in the vaccination drive. And a meticulous approach in execution helped us avoid crowding at vaccination camps."
Besides Noolpuzha becoming the first tribal panchayat in the state to be declared fully vaccinated, six other panchayats -- Edavaka, Pulpally, Thariyod, Pozhuthana, Mullankolli and Vythiri -- have achieved 100% first dose vaccination among those above 18.
Further, Kalpetta is all set to become the first municipality in the state to achieve 100 percent vaccination. The vaccination drive was planned in a result-oriented manner from mid-January.
The district administration managed to implement the mantra 'Hurt the Ego' effectively among the local bodies to achieve the result.
"The success of the leading local bodies was conveyed to the others who were struggling to pick up. To that effect, classes were given by Pulpally, Mullankolli and Tharuvana panchayat presidents/authorities to other local bodies which hurt the egos of the latter. Soon the struggling ones started asking for more doses and the drive gathered pace. They formed special squads for the purpose," said an official with the district administration.
Vaccination was ramped up in Vythiri in its capacity as a tourism hotspot.
To avoid rush at camps for tribal persons, the special squad visited households on the previous night and completed the registration process, the collector said.
"Thus we saved time and avoided crowd formation. We adopted a strategy similar to that of elections -- distributing slips on the previous day -- to ensure that people took the vaccine. Vehicles were allotted to take the tribal people to and from the camps," Adeela elaborated.
The ESAF small finance bank spent Rs 9 lakh under its Corporate Social Responsibility scheme towards the transportation expenses. Drives named 'Mission March', 'Mop up May' and 'Gothraraksha in June' were formulated to achieve the target.
"We formed a coordination committee comprising the medical officer and the local police inspector, among others, for the vaccination drive. Another rapid response team was formed in each ward. As many as 10 camps were held," said Pulpally panchayat president Dileep Kumar T S.
In Mullankolli, an exclusive cluster was formed in each ward to ramp up vaccination. "Combining both doses, more than 45,000 people have been administered the vaccine in our panchayat," said P K Vijayan, president of Mullankolli panchayat that has a population of 36,500.