Bold Initiative by Adolescent Girls for Immunisation at Mochkala
Sunita Devi, 19, belongs to a family of two more brothers and three sisters. Her father owns four bigha land in a Harijan Basti of the village Mochkala at Block Biswa in District Sitapur, which is the main source of income for them. She loves to study and so after completing her studies till class eight in the village she is presently pursuing class eleventh from a nearby village.
Being in the adolescent age group, she loves chatting with her group of friends. And she can be seen doing so whenever she is free of her household chores. She came in touch with the Coordinators of the BETI Foundation through her brother, Sushil who is a member of Community Support Group – a group formed in the village by the Foundation to promote high impact nutrition interventions in the village with the support of UNICEF.
One of the days (17th February) when the Coordinator was holding a discussion on immunization in the CSG monthly meeting, Sunita also participated with her friends. When asked by the Coordinator whether they had been vaccinated Sunita was surprised to find that adolescent girls also need to get vaccinated against Tetanus and expressed ignorance, “….mujhe to pata hi nahi tha ki hum logon ko bhi tika lag sakta hai…..”. The AWW , Mandakini brought to light here the fact that though there is good awareness about vaccination among women, the adolescent girls of the village are largely ignorant on the issue of immunization. This was evident from the responses received from other girls present on the occasion as well – “……tika to bachchon aur auraton ko lagta hai…….humein kyon lagaya jayega…?”
Through the information provided by the Coordinators on personal & menstrual hygiene, deworming and immunization, Sunita & her friends got convinced that vaccination is good for their health and well being. “ …….jo humein nahi malum tha….. vo ab pata chal gaya hai…. Hum apni saheliyon ko bhi batate hain….kyoki hum log apas me is tarah ki batein kar lete hain……” says a confident Sunita who got herself immunized during Village Health & Nutrition Day held in the village on 19th February alongwith her friends Asha, Vidyottama, Usha & Manju. A brimming Sunita is supported by her family for her initiative. She is confident of taking the second dose of TT after six months and is motivating other girls in the village to follow in her steps.