TRIFED, UNICEF promotes health with livelihood activities through 6.73Cr COVID vaccines in tribal districts

New Delhi: The “COVID Teeka Sang Surakshit Van, Dhan aur Uddyam” campaign was virtually launched by Shri Arjun Munda, Hon’ble Minister forTribal Affairs, Government of India on 15th July, 2021 to accelerate the pace of Covid vaccination among tribal communities of India. The campaign was launched through video conferencing link-up with field camps in Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and Bastar in Chhattisgarh in the presence of Shri Faggan Singh Kulaste, Hon’ble Minister of State for Steel, Smt. Renuka Singh and Shri Bishweswar Tudu, Hon’ble Ministers of State for Tribal Affairs, Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED; Dr. Roderico Ofrin, WHO Representative and Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative and other dignitaries. TRIFED in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO has planned to roll out this campaign across the country, with the help of partner agencies at State level in tribal districts. The campaign targets to leverage the 45,000 Van Dhan Self Help Groups (VDSHGs) of the Tribal Co-operative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) to Promote Livelihoods with Health. This campaign is estimated to connect tribal communities from across the country emphasizing that the COVID-19 vaccination is free, available in the nearby centres and not only protects people from hospitalization cost and death but also helps them to continue with their bread earning activities.

The campaign is based on 3 J’s:

• Jeevan (Life) – Every life and livelihood is precious, so vaccination is key to life and is free.
• Jeevika (Livelihood) – You can continue with your livelihood activities without fearing the disease if you are vaccinated. It also saves you from hospitalization and other opportunity costs.
• Jaagrookta (Awareness) – Simplification of the process of registration for vaccination and accessibility to different audience and age groups, especially women and elderly population. Van Dhan Self Help Groups collaborate and work with other stakeholders with service as a motto and with dedication and commitment that they have as a key role to make Panchayats and villages coronavirus free.

The aforesaid campaign focusses on reassurance, pride and self-efficacy. Its motive is to fast track the activities of Van Dhan Self-Help Groups, and accelerate the pace of COVID vaccination among tribals engaged in procurement, value addition and marketing of handlooms, handicrafts and forest produces. The campaign leverages the strength and network of Self-Help Groups and other common touch points – Common Service Centres, fertilizer outlet centres, Haats and Bazaars, VDSHGs etc. It employs publicity measures in local languages to promote vaccine uptake and COVID Appropriate Behaviour.

The campaign also uses non-traditional partnerships and community reach for mobilization and collective action such as involvement of traditional leaders and incentivize adoption of vaccines through local health structures and TRIFED’s influencers in tribal districts. A series of webinars in this regard has also been conducted covering all the states with about 3000 participation from VDSHGs, Clusters, representatives of SIA, SNA, SFURTI TA, UNICEF, WHO, Suppliers, District administration, local influencers etc of the respective regions.

This was followed diligently by organising various awareness campaigns physically in about 80 tribal districts across the country. About 150 TRIFED’s Influencers were identified in tribal districts to support the campaign by driving the tribals to get vaccinated.

As an outcome of this campaign undertaken by TRIFED in association with UNICEF and WHO, it is estimated that approx. 6.73 crores vaccinations were administered in tribal districts.

The campaign is targeted to overcome two challenging waves, gained experience and are determined to stop the third wave in tribal districts, free of COVID infection and restrictions on livelihood activities.

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