On April 14, a record 6.28 lakh people were vaccinated in Andhra Pradesh, the highest in a day in any state. Chief minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy attributed the success to the Village Secretariat system and asked other states to replicate it as an effective model of governance for judicious delivery of benefits to the right people. Based on 2.6 lakh village and ward volunteers, the system was put in place by Reddy’s party after its good show in the 2019 general elections in the state. The volunteers’ primary duty is to deliver all government welfare benefits directly at the doorsteps of beneficiaries, even those living in far-flung and inaccessible areas. This network has also helped Andhra Pradesh handle the second Covid surge effectively. Each volunteer covers 50 families, which helps in reaching out to every household for vaccination.
Reddy wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi last week, boasting about his state’s achievement as part of the Tika Utsav and seeking 60 lakh more vaccines to ensure that all vulnerable people in his state are vaccinated soon. According to health commissioner Kattamaneni Bhaskar, the state had administered more than 46 lakh Covid vaccine doses by April 17. The CM contends that Andhra Pradesh needs another 60 lakh doses for all citizens in the state above the age of 45 years to be vaccinated in the next three weeks. Bhaskar says they can ensure this by making adequate use of ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activists), ANMs (auxiliary nurse midwives) and village volunteers.
By M.S. Shanker in Hyderabad