Polio vaccination fiasco: Doctor was busy on phone despite repeated pleas, say workers

Express News Service
MUMBAI: Asha workers have blamed the doctor for asking them to administer a hand sanitizer instead of the polio vaccine to the children in a Maharashtra village.

ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers said while vaccinating the 12 kids in Kopari Kapsi village in Yavatmal district, Dr Amol Gavade had instructed them to administer the blue-coloured hand sanitizer instead of polio vaccine.

Kopari Kapsi is the tribal village to which the children belonged. Four persons, including Dr Gavade, have been suspended in the incident.

ALSO READ | Three health workers suspended after Maharashtra polio fiasco​“We told the doctor that the colour of the vaccine was pink, not blue. But the doctor told us that the vaccine colour is now changed… We kept clarifying with him, but he was busy talking with someone on his mobile phone,” said an ASHA worker.

“We have been made a scapegoat. Our fault was that we listened to Dr Gavade. Had we refused to follow his instruction, he would have taken actions against us. Besides, the administration has given us only a day’s training instead of 15 days,” said the worker.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said those suspended would be terminated if the probe established  them to be involved in the horrendous lapse. 

Sources said the suspended ASHA workers were hired on contract basis.

“The big fish are being protected while the small contract workers are suspended,” alleged a BJP leader.