Rupjan Begum, an ANM (Auxiliary Nursing Midwifery) has visited madrassas, schools, police stations, slums, residential areas, mosques, and Eidgahs in the remotest areas of Assam to carry out the Covid-19 vaccination drive. She faced hundreds of hostile individuals who simply refused to take the jab and yet today Rupajan has set the record of administering Covid vaccines doses to more than one lakh individuals.
Rupjan recently received the best vaccinators’ award instituted for health care workers as part of India’s National Covid Vaccination Programme. She is posted as an ANM at Pandu FRU (First Referral Unit). She received the award from Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, in New Delhi on International Women’s Day.
The Covid vaccination programme started in 2021 with healthcare workers. Till February, Rupjan had administered 1, 00, 2680 individuals.
“A large section of the Muslim individuals, both men, and women were initially adamant on not taking the vaccine doses. They nursed misconceptions and perceived that Covid vaccines could be reasons for infertility, weakness, and other health complications. It took me a lot of time to address these misconceptions and convince them about the efficacy of vaccines,” Rupjan said.
Rupajan Begum vaccination people in Assam
Rupjan held several meetings with religious leaders, teachers, and the general public at Darul Uloom Madrassa at Garigaon in Kamrup to convince ensure Muslims come forward for vaccination. During the peak of the vaccination drive, Rupjan worked beyond her duty hours. On October 2, she administered a record 670 vaccinations.
“Even though it was tough initially, the people including the poor and illiterate ones have understood the necessity of taking the vaccines. From my childhood, I wanted to become a nurse. Become a successful nurse is not easy. You have to have a whole lot of patience to serve the people. I think that the Almighty Allah has bestowed the quality of having patience in me. So it has helped me to overcome all hurdles,” Rupjan said.
Rupjan Begum completed the ANM nursing course from Mangaldai Civil Hospital in 1996. She has been working as a health worker at Pandu FRU in Kamrup city district since 2008. Apart from the Covid vaccination, Rupjan has played a special role in successfully implementing several other immunization programmes so far.
A few years ago, the State Health department faced hurdles in carrying out a Japanese encephalitis vaccination campaign for adults. Rupjan had chipped in and carried out vaccinations that time too.
Rupjan Begum participating in a vaccination awareness campaign
Rupjan, a mother of two, says healthcare is human service. This service cannot be like a job done from 10 am to 5 pm. During the covid vaccination, Rupjan also served many cancer patients.
Along with Rupjan, Dipali Saha of Assam has also won the Best Immunization Award from the Central Government this year. State Health minister Keshav Mahanta was elated at the services of the two health workers and said Rupjan and Deepali are the two strongest weapons in the eradication of Covid from the State.
Expressing gratitude to the District Immunization Officer Bhabendra Kumar Das, Program Manager Hemang Vaishya and Data Manager Hashim Ali, Rupjan Begem said the recent central government recognition would encourage her to engage him in further vaccination in the future. As the Central Government is planning for Covid vaccination of children under the age of 15, Rupjan will dedicate herself to taking the opportunity to vaccinate a large number of children.
Hundreds of people come to Rupjan Begum to take vaccine doses thinking she has magic in her hands. “If the people think that I have magic in my hands, it is a blessing from God,” Rupjan Begum said.