UN offices working intimately with India as nation dispatches world’s biggest COVID vaccination drive

UN offices working intimately with India as nation dispatches world’s biggest COVID vaccination drive


  • Post By : Kumar Jeetendra

  • Source: PTI

  • Date: 20 Jan,2021

As India established the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive, several UN agencies are working closely with authorities for the gigantic vaccination programme, a spokesperson for the UN chief has said.

In India, the UN team headed by Resident Coordinator Renata Dessallien is supporting the government and UN partners in the Enormous COVID-19 vaccination programme,” said Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday.

“UN agencies are working closely with police to prepare and establish what is currently the world’s biggest vaccination drive,” he told reporters at the daily press briefing, adding that as of Tuesday, the Indian government has vaccinated nearly half a million people.

India on January 16 rolled out the massive coronavirus vaccination drive under which two domestically manufactured vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin –are being administered to frontline health workers throughout the nation.

While Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the Covaxin has been produced by Bharat Biotech.

Up to now a total of 4,54,049 vaccinations have been done, according to data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. There have been about 580 instances of adverse effects after the vaccinations thus far and two people have died. The government has said the deaths are not associated with the vaccine.

Dujarric said UN teams have monitored more than 4,000 vaccination sessions up to now and have helped to train more than 300,000 vaccinators and health care workers.

“We’re also providing technical assistance, such as helping to ensure cold-chain equipment for the vaccines,” he said.

In India, the UN team’s work has caused a five-fold growth in investments to address gender-based violence since the start of the pandemic, he added.

UN agencies have helped to train hundreds of crisis centre workers who support thousands of survivors of gender-based violence every month.

We also have trained 47,000 nurses and others to address violence against women, women and others, Dujarric said.

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) has helped nearly half a million children in institutions and foster care.

We have also helped nearly 5 million children and individuals receive health care, Dujarric said, adding that the UN has trained law enforcement agency officials to counter and prevent human trafficking.

A effort by UNAIDS (a joint United Nations programme against HIV/AIDS) to build solidarity for the LGBTQI community has reached millions of people.

The virus has claimed over 150,000 lives in India.

WHO representative in India, Roderico Ofrin, said the World Health Organisation has provided technical aid to the government for the development of operational guidelines and other training materials for state and district programme managers and vaccinators, and establishing tracking and accountability frameworks, according to a UN news release.

Ofrin said WHO field officials have eased the highest-level oversight through regular task force meetings in the state and district levels, which are chaired by the principal secretaries (Health) at the country level and district magistrates in the district level.

Prior to the start of the campaign, UN agencies help with detailed preparations, the release stated.

For its part, WHO participated in dry-run simulations and provided comments on management of vaccines, registration of beneficiaries, in addition to reporting on vaccination coverage and adverse events following immunisation. It also worked with the government and the UN Development Programme on real-time reporting and problem-solving when issues arose in the vaccination sites, Ofrin said.

At the provincial level, WHO supported monitoring and implementation of health policy, such as developing standard operating procedures, preparing technical briefs, and providing best practices from other parts of the India as well as other countries.

Similarly, UNICEF supported communication and advocacy efforts to ensure the dissemination of factual information to communities and stakeholders. Over the months, the bureau also helped train healthcare staff in disease control and prevention, and psychosocial support to children and caregivers, the release stated. Aside from directly supporting the vaccine rollout, UN agencies continued their programmes to assist the most vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19 and its socio-economic fallouts.

Though vaccination programmes are underway, continued vigilance from COVID-19 and preventing its spread remain as crucial as ever, the UN said. Ofrin urged continued vigilance over tracking cases, cluster investigation, isolation and clinical care, and quarantining to break the chain of transmission. Alongside, he also emphasized the”three W’s — wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your space” to halt the spread of COVID-19.

India on Tuesday announced that it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles from Wednesday and supplies to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius will commence after confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances

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