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Maharashtra ropes in hakims to beat tribals’ vaccine hesitancy | THP India News

NAGPUR: Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli and Nagpur district collectors are adopting innovative measures to counter vaccine hesitancy among the tribal population, who have been misled by messages in social media claiming deaths and impotency due to vaccination against Covid-19.
Gadchiroli collector Dipak Singla and his Nagpur counterpart Ravindra Thakare are asking local village ‘doctors’ like hakims or bhoomkals and pujaris or priests to first take the jab themselves and then encourage the villagers to do the same. The district administrations are also approaching the peoples’ representatives to promote the vaccination drive.
The district administrations have also started awareness campaigns in local languages, including the tribal ones like Gondi and Madia, spoken in eastern Vidarbha’s Maoist-affected Gadchiroli. Healthcare teams are also visiting remote places to get villagers vaccinated in the Maoist hotbed of Abhujamadh along the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border.
Singla said that a 21-point awareness campaign has been started to first target the hamlets where there is least resistance. The campaign will then move on to villages that are completely refusing vaccination. “We are roping in local doctors, who provide the first line of treatment to the villagers. Once these local doctors are vaccinated, they can motivate the villagers,” said Singla.
He said help will also be taken from opinion-makers like tribal activist Devaji Tofa and other well-known personalities to boost vaccination.
Gadchiroli’s district health officer Dr Shashikant Shambarkar said his team first vaccinated the pujari at a small hamlet in Chamorshi taluka and another at Dhanora. The villagers followed them.
Thakare, who feels the anticipated third wave may hit the villagers more than the urban population, is keen to intensify the vaccination drive in rural parts, especially in the tribal belt of Nagpur district. “We want to capitalize on the trust the local population has in hakims and others who use herbs for treatment,” he said.

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Nilesh Desaihttp://www.TheNileshDesai.com
Nilesh Desai is a Commerce, Computer and Law Graduate. Having wide experience in many fields. Doing IT Business since 1993.

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