Andhra’s 4 lakh field force on standby for vaccine distribution

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on December 04, 2020 Published on December 04, 2020

The Covid-19 vaccine is not yet out but Andhra Pradesh has got a 4-lakh strong field force in mission ready mode for its distribution.

Playing a key part will be the 1.34 lakh village secretaries’/ward secretaries who were recruited some months before the pandemic by the state as part of its efforts to strengthen administration at the grassroots. They were hired to ensure last-mile-connectivity in delivering government services, but the recruitment came as a blessing during the pandemic as they were tasked with Covid control measures.

The village secretaries together with 1.61 lakh village volunteers and health secretaries handled a diverse range of tasks during the pandemic. From distribution of essentials during the lockdown, obtaining data on arrival of people in the villages from outside including abroad, reporting of symptoms, contact tracing and providing kits, they pitched in ably. Now their role is being expanded to cover vaccine distribution as well.

“The services of village secretaries and volunteers will be utilised in Covid-19 vaccine distribution. As we have four lakh field force ready, it will be a great advantage for AP,” said Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary, government of AP who heads Village Secretaries/Ward Secretaries Department. This will, however, be based on due protocol issued by the Government of India and State Government, Jain added.

Mapping the state

According to Jain, 1.5 crore households in the State have been mapped. A secretary/volunteer is available for every 50 households in the State with 100 per cent and 95 per cent coverage in rural and urban areas respectively.

With the help of the field staff, the government has already conducted five elaborate surveys across the state and all data has been captured digitally with the support of IT tools. All this is expected to make the vaccine distribution easier. Since a good number of the village secretaries are B.Tech and pharmacy graduates, the level of service has been high.

“Initially, I had apprehensions about joining the job but now I have the satisfaction of being a Corona warrior,” said A Rahul, an IAS aspirant and B.Tech graduate, who now works as a village secretary in West Godavari district.

One crore tests

As on November 29, 2020, a total of 1,00,17,126 people were tested in the state of which 8,67,683 have tested positive and 91,49,443 were negative. Andhra Pradesh topped the charts among big states in terms of tests per million population. It did 1,87,587 tests per million populations (98,004 national average). Of 1,00,17,126 tests, 52,38,479 are RTPCR, 7,41,711 truenat and 40,36,936 are rapid tests.

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Published on December 04, 2020
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