New Delhi (India Science Wire): As many as 19 Ministries and Departments of the Government of India are involved in the implementation of the national vaccination campaign that is currently underway to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lists of participants range from the Ministries of Women and Child Development, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Human Resource Development, AYUSH, Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Minority Affairs, Sports and Youth and Information and Broadcasting to the Ministries of Housing and Urban Affairs, Defence, Home Affairs, Railways, Power, Food and Consumer Affairs, Labour & Employment, Information Technology, and Animal Husbandry Department.
The role of each Ministry / Department is well defined. For instance, The Ministry of Women and Child Development helps generate community awareness on COVID-19 vaccination through the staff of its Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme, Ministry of Panchayati Raj supports in organizing vaccination sessions including vaccine site preparation and logistics, Ministry of Rural Development helps in vaccine delivery and monitoring through Block Development Officers and other village functionaries, Ministry of Urban Development ensures registration of healthcare workers and other front-line workers working in Municipal Corporations, Municipalities and other local bodies, Ministry of Sports and Youth helps by getting NYKS/NSS (Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan/National Service Scheme) volunteers for crowd control at the vaccination sites, Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies supports in providing cold storage spaces and transport systems for the vaccines.
The Ministry of Railways plays an important supporting communication through screening of audio/visual spots on trains and platforms, Ministry of Information Technology helps in village level engagement of Common Service Centers for beneficiary registration, monitoring, printing of beneficiary certification and other services where connectivity and web-based methods are required, and Department of Power ensures uninterrupted power supply at vaccine storage point and vaccination site.
In addition, representatives of medical colleges, professional bodies such as Indian Medical Association (IMA), and Indian Academy of Paediatricians (IAP), developmental partners such as WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, and BMGF (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and voluntary organizations such as NCC (National Cadet Core), NSS and NYKS, and non-government organizations such as Lions Club International, Rotary International, and Red Cross are also actively involved.
The development partners are involved extensively since their technical and monitoring support continues to be of significance in strengthening of health systems and programmes in India.
For instance, WHO India has been providing technical support to the Centre, States and districts in planning, training and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine introduction activities. It has, among other things, helped facilitate trainings in various States and districts to build capacity of medical officers, health workers and mobilisers on operationalization of COVID-19 vaccination including on how to deal with adverse events following immunization; track implementation of COVID-19 vaccine rollout activities; undertake preparedness assessment at state and districts and provide feedback to task forces to take action; prepare plan for concurrent monitoring, need based deployment of external monitors and rapid response team members. (India Science Wire)