By Sahil Pandey
New Delhi [India], November 26 (ANI): Union Health Ministry on Thursday asked all states and union territories to form a Block Task Force on a priority basis to prepare for distribution in the country of the vaccine against Covid-19.
In a letter, accessed by ANI, a senior health ministry official has written to all chief secretaries and administrators of all states and Union territories advising them to prepare for the roll-out of the vaccine.
"You are requested to kindly direct the concerned officials to constitute Block Task Force as detailed above on priority basis. I look forward to your support towards preparations for the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine in our country" the letter reads.
The letter urges states to constitute Block Task Force (BTF) to further decentralize planning and preparedness for the roll-out of the vaccine.
The BTF will be chaired by sub-divisional magistrate/Tehsildar and convened by Block MO I/C with the representation of Government Departments, Development partners, NGOs, Local influencers, and Religious Leaders at Block Level.
The Union Health Ministry said Terms of References (ToRs) were shared for the formation of the state steering committee, state task force, and district task force for structured review of preparedness for COVID-19 vaccine introduction at state and district level.
Most of the states on district levels have already constituted committees and task forces and are conducting regular meetings to provide guidance on various preparatory activities like an assessment of cold chain space and its augmentation, preparation of database of Health Care Workers (HCWs) for upload on Co-WIN software, mobilisation of the pan sectoral response involving all concerned government departments/NCC/NGOs, etc.
As per the ToRs issued by the Ministry, the sub-divisional magistrate or Tehsildar will be the chairperson of the Block Task Force for Covid-19 vaccine introduction, whereas the block medical officer-in-charge will act as convenor.
Members of Task Force from Government Departments will include Block Development Officer, Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), Block Education Officer, Elected Representative of Block Panchayat, Representative of youth organizations like National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), National Service Scheme (NSS), Representative of any other relevant departments like Public Works Department, Animal Husbandry, NGOs working in Health sector.
The development partners of Task Force will include WHO, UNICEF, Community Based Organizations, Local Non-Government Organizations, Rotary International, Lions Club among others.
In the preparatory phase, the role of the Task Force will be to monitor the progress of the database of beneficiaries, that is to be shared with the district for upload on Co-WIN software, ensure training of all concerned HR on Co-WIN software, monitor progress on key activities such as micro-planning, communication planning, cold chain, and vaccine logistics planning, and planning and mapping of vaccination sessions where health care workers (HCW) will be vaccinated during the 1st phase of COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.
For the implementation phase, the role of the Task Force will be to monitor the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccine in the block for progress made and resolving bottle-necks, requisition of required human resource and infrastructure including vehicles if needed from the district and/or other departments for implementation and monitoring, ensuring minimal disruption of other routine health services during the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine, ensuring supervision of vaccination sessions being conducted for Covid-19 vaccine, implementation of communication plan while addressing the local context and needs to address rumour-mongering as well as vaccine eagerness. And maximize the use of local influencers (including religious leaders) for countering misinformation.
"However, states/districts/blocks may add members to their committees and enhance their activities based on local context and requirements," the ministry added in the TOR advisory. (ANI)