Hello, My name is sanjeevani car. I travel to different villages of India. My job is to give important information related to Kovid-19 to people during their journey to villages in different parts of the country so that they can keep themselves safe from the virus.
Looking back we find how the world changed in January 2020, no one prepared me for it. Seeing the virus infiltrating from country to country and homes, people had more questions than answers. Luckily, I can help people with this.
On my current route, I travel to 5 districts of the country, in which many interesting conversations take place. Every day I get to interact with hundreds of community members while visiting the villages. During my travels, I visit both urban and rural areas, which gives me the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people. This includes people of different age groups, socio-economic backgrounds and genders. Even though we have now reached a critical point in the pandemic where a vaccine is available, my work as a Sanjeevani vehicle is as important as ever. As during my last visit to Indore, I was asked many questions related to the vaccine. The most common of these was, ‘If vaccinated, will there be a Kovid-19 infection?’ Some people asked, ‘Where to get the vaccine?’ I always make sure that I have informative leaflets, messages and a team that can answer everyone’s questions while traveling.
Often small children come running to me and inform their families about my arrival. ‘The train has arrived!’ Increasing our reach needs an inclusive approach to ensure that my message reaches everyone without any barriers to literacy. For this, my audio-visual screen ‘how-to’ video focuses on a few key points like registering for the vaccine, following covid appropriate behaviour, etc. That way people can use me as a visual guide when they need help. Some people register themselves watching my video which shows the benefits of using different forms of communication to spread awareness. A positive response means more people are following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, which in turn makes people in their community a safer place to live.
Sanjeevani van is increasing awareness among people about the corona vaccine.
My job is also to reduce the hesitation about the vaccine. People are very scared of getting vaccinated because of confusion and misunderstandings, but these are the people I look forward to meeting. The response now is quite opposite as compared to the earlier questions. Some people are asking, ‘People are dying even after getting vaccinated, why should I take the risk?’ and ‘I don’t believe in putting anything foreign in my body.’ Such persons could have been directly affected by Kovid-19 or the deep roots of their idea are completely opposite to modern science. These are the villages where I am spending a lot of time to clear the misunderstandings of years. Talking about the importance of protecting oneself and family by getting vaccinated, breaking the chain of infection, I am happy to see that people are slowly discovering scientific facts and evidence that support the benefits of the vaccine. I also talk to him about such people who got themselves registered on the basis of the information given by me.
Apart from this, there is a lot of power in numbers. Following this ideology, I try to meet village officials like Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat etc. during my every visit. By doing this I can reach as many people as possible and enlist their support in reducing hesitation towards COVID-19 appropriate behavior and vaccines. He also helps to spread a positive message about me i.e. ‘Sanjeevani’. When it reaches the leaders of other villages, they welcome me in their community. Traveling at the state level also gave me an opportunity to share my lessons, which enabled my team to deliver targeted support in selected districts. By understanding where the reservation comes from and connecting the beneficiaries with the help they need, I am playing a vital role in breaking the chain of infection by increasing awareness among the people of the society and changing the behavior of people.
Keeping myself up to date with current and relevant information, people see me as a reliable source, which can go a long way in reducing the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 in today’s environment. Over the next few months, I aim to reach 32,00,000 people with the information-based support they need to make them feel safe. I look forward to meeting you soon in select villages of Indore, Guntur, Dakshin Kannada, Nashik and Amritsar.
(The author is Tara Raghunath, co-ordinator of United Way Mumbai’s Community Investments)