Dibang Valley reaches out to border villages with Covid-19 vaccine

[ Tongam Rina ]

PASIGHAT, 23 May: The administration has reached out to the elderly and aged population with the Covid-19 vaccine in Dibang Valley district, located along the international border, as the villagers are not able to come to the vaccination centres.

Deputy Commissioner Minga Sherpa said mostly aged and elderly are in the border villages and they are not able to come to the vaccination centres, so the administration decided to reach out to them with the help of panchayat members, gaon burahs/buris (GB) and political interpreters (PI).

The job of the panchayat members and the PIs is to go to the villages to find out the exact number of people who are above 45 years of age in these villages as most stay in Anini, the district headquarters, and Roing, the district headquarters of neighbouring Lower Dibang Valley district.

“Once we get the data of the actual numbers of people, we prepare the number of vaccines accordingly,” the DC said.

“Since there is shortage of medical staff, a multidisciplinary team is formed that includes the nursing officers who are the vaccinators. A date is fixed and a vehicle along with driver is requisitioned from a line department to take the team headed by a circle officer to the selected village. The assistance of the GBs and PIs are required again as they have to create awareness,” Sherpa said.

So far, 499 people above 45 years of age, including 111 who had their second dose, have been vaccinated. The total doses for healthcare workers, frontline workers and the abovementioned vaccinated people stand at 2,576. This is not a mean achievement, given the fact that the district has very less road network and the villages are located apart far and wide.

Vaccination for the 18-44 age group started on 17 May. A paltry 84 people in the age group were vaccinated.

The district is under lockdown till 31 May, though the numbers are not alarming. The district has 56 active cases, with one admitted in the district hospital. The rest are in home isolation.

The total cases reported from the district, including those recovered, stands at 103.

The district has abysmal health facilities, with just nine doctors for the entire district of an estimated 8,000 people, according to official information. There are 27 nurses and 59 beds in total in the entire district, which has one district hospital in Anini, one PHC in Etalin and seven sub-centres. Four sub-centres – New Anaya, Mainey, Emuli and Mipi – have no medical staffer, according to the information.

The healthcare facilities are concentrated in district HQ Anini, which has a registered population of about 2,000.

The remote district, located along the Indo-Tibet international border, is currently cut off from the rest of the country, as the only bridge that connects the district is almost underwater.