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The trio of MP doctors that turned about 400 schools in favour of Measles-Rubella vaccination drive

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Special Correspondent

SHIVPURI: For most of the government and private schools in Shivpuri town in MP, this trio of doctors has become a team to reckon with.

Because, for about 20 days till recently, these three government doctors, normally not associated with field level work, were literally zooming through the schools in the town, with sole aim to convince, counsel and orient students, teachers and parents alike on the state health department led Measles-Rubella vaccination campaign.

And the dedicated sincere work of these doctors – formed as a special team by the district immunization officer (DIO) Dr Sanjay Rishishawar paid off quite handsomely. The doctors managed to convince elders and get children immunized against Measles-Rubella at very good rate in almost 400 schools of the town – a task not as easy as thought to be.

Madhya Pradesh reported 9095 cases of Measles in 10 years from 2007 to 2016. Measles kills about 50,000 kids every year in the country and Rubella is a big cause of various disabilities among children including congenital rubella syndrome that can affect cognitive abilities. The national MR campaign was launched to protect kids against these diseases and all children from nine months to 15 years are to be covered.

“I remember the tough resistance that the management and teaching staff of Shivpuri Public School offered to us. It took us several rounds of detailed discussions and offers of one to one counseling of non-consenting parents to finally get them to participate in the drive and vaccinate 350-odd children,” Dr Dharmendra Dixit, a homoeopath and one of the team members recalls.

Dr Anil Agarwal, a senior homoeopath says they had to use all tricks in the trade to convince the elders about the important national level campaign and feels quite satisfied at the results they achieved.

Dr Amit Kewat, an Ayurvedic doctor, sharing the strategy said that they would go by the vaccination schedule of the schools, contact the authorities in advance, go to the school during the prayer meet or assembly session and give all relevant information about the drive. “We would answer all the queries and also administered an oath on Measles-Rubella vaccination to the kids. It worked well and there is this feeling of being able to contribute to the important campaign,” he said.

The MR vaccination campaign, launched on January 15 with support of UNICEF, WHO and UNDP, started off with the schools in all the districts including Shivpuri. Even before the drive started, the DIO of Shivpuri recognized the specific need of having expert hands to convince the school authorities and parents of students to get the kids immunized.

“We formed the special team of doctors, understanding the fact that doctors would be the best people to convince the elders on the necessity of the vaccination. It was a thought that turned out quite well and most schools and other educational institutes finally supported the drive,” Dr Rishishwar said.

Sravani Sarkar

Sravani Sarkar has been a journalist for over two decades. In the past, she has worked with Lokmat Times, Indian Express & Hindustan Times.