Making sure no one is left behind
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh - Dolna is 25 years old and joined WHO nine months ago as a immunization field monitor in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. During that time, she got to know the camps like the back of her hand. She covers camp 4 and the extension of it in the Kutupalong mega camp. Dolna is responsible for monitoring the routine immunization for 46 000 people. During the ongoing one month Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign she makes sure the immunization teams are effective in mobilising the community, that they follow the guidelines for delivering the vaccines, that vaccine vials are kept in proper condition and also that the required documents are properly filled in.
“In order to vaccinate 330 000 people everyone needs to know what they have to do and how to do it. My role is to go in the field every day, to ensure that the vaccinators, the community mobilisers and the volunteers are doing their jobs effectively. I help them when I can and guide them.“
Dolna is also responsible for making sure nobody is left behind and that all children receive vaccine. Going door to door and checking if people got immunized is a big responsibility. “At the vaccination points they have their little fingers marked with ink. So it is easy for me to go house to house and check the finger marking and if they don’t have one, to direct them to the vaccination points. After the designated days for vaccination in an area, the vaccinators moves to the next place. I don’t want anyone to get sick with Cholera because I missed them out during the campaign.”
For Dolna this is the fourth vaccination campaign since she joined WHO. Over the period, the Rohingya community has become familiar with immunization. “At the beginning people knew very little about vaccination, they were reluctant and children would run away. Its after a lot of efforts such as meetings with community leaders, with Imams, teachers, families, and anyone and everyone who could help us to convince the parents to vaccinate their children, that we are getting community support. Children are now coming to the vaccination points, parents are aware that immunization is important and the community trusts the medical teams. I am proud to have played a role in this. Seeing this improvement keeps me motivated to continue doing my work.”
Dolna is one of the 19 WHO immunization field monitors that are working every day in the Rohingya refugee camps to ensure that the population gets the much needed vaccines both during routine immunization and the vaccination campaigns.