March 1 vaccination: B'luru survey yet to take off

Phase 3 vaccination from March 1 but key health survey yet to take off fully

The BBMP is surveying 30,000 households to identify the intended recipients and also use the data for future health programmes

ASHA worker (left) during a health survey for Covid-19 vaccination. Credit: DH Photo

The third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination is just days away but the crucial city-wide health survey is yet to fully take off. 

Starting March 1, people aged above 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities will be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. 

The BBMP is surveying 30,000 households to identify the intended recipients and also use the data for future health programmes. The survey is, however, facing teething problems. 

ASHA workers say they started the survey on Wednesday as their login passwords for the Namma Samudaya app came only on Monday. But many of them still could not log in due to network and internet issues. 

The BBMP has formed two-member teams to do the survey. Officials had earlier estimated that ASHA workers would need 5-10 minutes to survey one household, and each team should be able to cover 100 households per day. The BBMP commissioner revised down the daily target to 50 households. 

But ground realities suggest that even this target would be hard to achieve. ASHA workers say they won’t be able to cover more than 20 houses a day. 

Surveyors have to get answers for 28 questions and upload them on the app. And many surveyors say they are spending between Rs 300 and Rs 600 out of their own pockets on mobile data packs to make sure they stay connected to the internet. 

At the state level, immunisation officials say they’re still waiting for the vaccination SOP from the Centre. Work also is yet to start on drafting a list of people with co-morbidities and nobody knows how many people listed on the electoral rolls are senior citizens or aged above 45. 

Farhana, 40, an ASHA worker, has been tasked with surveying households in ward 75 (Shankar Matt), Kaveri Nagar in Peenya. She works at an urban primary health centre in Kamala Nagar. 

She said they were informed about the survey on February 20 but their tablets arrived only the next day. The passwords took another two days, meaning they could start the survey only on Wednesday. 

“We have to enquire about the number of family members in each household and whether anyone has blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, etc. We also seek identity proofs such as ration card, company ID or school documents,” she explained. 

In total, there are 28 questions. “I’ve already spent Rs 400 for a data pack while we’ve been promised Rs 10 per house,” Farhana told DH, adding she could survey only six houses on Wednesday.

And on Thursday, until noon, she surveyed another six because she had to do
regular ASHA duties, too. 

Asked about the slow pace of the survey, BBMP Special Commissioner, Health, Rajendra Cholan, said the vaccination would start on March 1 “with whatever data we have of senior citizens and those with co-morbidities.” 

Cholan said the CoWIN app had neither been opened for uploading the data nor for public registration.  

‘People won’t give ID’

Fathima B, an ASHA worker from Karnataka Layout, said they could upload the data to the app only after Wednesday midnight as the server was down. 

“Even if one answer isn’t uploaded, we have to start from the first question. We have to upload at least one ID number but people are suspicious and and don’t give their voter ID or Aadhaar number,” she explained, adding she covered only 16 houses on Thursday. As if these troubles weren’t enough, she hasn’t been paid her January salary of Rs 4,000. 

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