With unwavering zeal, health and district officials in Arunachal Pradesh trekked over nine hours to vaccinate 16 grazers staying at 14,000 feet above the sea level at Luguthang, one of the remotest villages in Tawang district, close to the border with Tibet.
Tawang Deputy Commissioner Sang Phuntsok led the eight-member team which vaccinated the 16 villagers on Monday, as they were left out of the government’s Covid immunisation camp organised by the Tawang’s health and district authorities on May 19.
The mission came to light when Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu tweeted: “Reaching the unreached — Bringing Covid Vaccines to remote communities. Covid frontline warriors trek for hours in this absolutely breathtaking sceneries to vaccinate a small community of Yak herders who live in high mountainous areas of Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh.”
The Chief Minister also tagged photographs of the frontier soldiers, including women, led by the Tawang Deputy Commissioner trekking through the mountainous terrain to reach their destination at the furthest village of Luguthang, which is aerially 30 km from Tawang.
In all, 10 families comprising 65 people in the village are yak grazers.
The May 19 vaccination camp was organised at Domtsang, a village between Luguthang and Thingbu Hydel. The inoculation camp was aimed to cater to Luguthang and the other villages in the area.
According to the health officials, 33 villagers of Luguthang in the eligible age group got immunised on May 19.
A district official told IANS over phone that the grazers move out with their livestock to far-flung areas and despite their various efforts, including sending messages through the villagers, 16 grazers were left out of the vaccination camp.
“But Deputy Commissioner Sang Phuntsok was determined to vaccinate the 16 grazers who were left out,” the official said.
The official added that the Deputy Commissioner, doctors and other officials, including zila parishad chairman Leki Gombu, started their trek from the Thingbu Hydel village at 7.15 am on Sunday and reached Luguthang at 4.30 p.m. after crossing two hazardous peaks in Tawang district — Nyukteng and Nahchhot. The villagers were vaccinated the following day.
There is no motorable road from Thingbu Hydel to Luguthang, which forced the team to undertake the strenuous expedition on foot.
The officials had to walk through thick forests, swampy stretches and Luguthang river, a tributary of Tawang Chu, numerous times.
The officials and the health staff also explained to the villagers the utility of inoculation after they were given the jab by district reproductive and child health officer Rinchin Neema.
The health employees and veterinary officials gave them free medicines for diarrhoea, deworming and other ailments for both the villagers and their livestock.
Besides Covid vaccination, 19 other patients were also treated for different ailments by the accompanying doctors.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at email@example.com)