The Boat Clinic health teams across 13 districts in Assam have noticed a distinct change in attitude amongst the isolated community they serve , with increasing numbers of young mothers with babies clinging to their backs coming to the immunization centers. Continuous visits and interactions with residents have created this transformation. However instances remain where immunization teams are not readily accepted and met with hostility. The subsequent onset of fever after vaccination is often interpreted by the mostly illiterate community members as being an adverse effect of immunization. Constant awareness sessions are therefore held to bring about a community mind set.
In this context the newly appointed District Programme Officer of Jorhat, Riturekha Baruah managed a commendable feat. On 26th December 2011, at a regular health camp at Jorhat’s Kathsapori village, she came across a young mother who was not convinced about the need to immunize her two month old infant. The observant young lady DPO noticed the woman observing the health camp held at the LP School from a little distance without attending the camp. The pharmacist Deepjyoti Nath informed the DPO that the woman was scared of immunizing her child. Even while she was pregnant,she had not attended the earlier camps for her ANC check ups though the camp was regularly held near her house. The DPO went to the woman and talked with her patiently for quite some time till she opened up and expressed her apprehension about injections and doctors. A counseling session with the ASHA and ANM Pratima Saikia was accordingly arranged and it worked successfully as the reluctant mother later allowed the child to be immunized by the ANM Pratima Saikia. A happy health team returned to the Boat Clinic after the camp.