Voluntary Health Association (VHA), a network of local NGOs and CBOs has been working in Tripura since 1988. VHA relies on the strength of its volunteers, who come from a diverse age range and are committed toward creating positive change in society. They have been making significant efforts to maintain the Public Health Centres and other health facilities in Tripura.
Even with years of field expertise, the team has been facing several challenges and difficulties in a sensitive location like Tripura. The complex geographical terrain of the area has had significant effects on the public health systems in the state. “There are always risks associated with going to regions of conflict with no network. But this work makes us happy, and people expect us to come back and work with them,” said Jairam, who works in the villages of Matabari block.
During COVID-19, collaborating with Community Action Collab (previously known as #CovidActionCollab), VHA volunteers worked to solve any issues that came their way while attempting to administer vaccinations.
“I love the fact that I can touch so many lives, meet so many people and do so much work,” says Rupali, who has been working with VHA for the past five years. They worked closely with the government field staff in spreading awareness about COVID-19 vaccinations through door-to-door visits with mobile vans, camps, village meetings, street plays, etc. A group of trained personnel, vaccinated people on the go, leaving no one behind in their pursuit of achieving 100 percent vaccinations. The purpose-driven action of VHA volunteers with support from CAC assisted in converting rejection into acceptance in many sections of Tripura as well as accelerating vaccinations for everybody.
VHA has also been closely involved with the collaborative on High Impact Intervention (HII) where the team has been ensuring access to government schemes to the people in the communities who need it the most. Gopal Debnath, VHA’s social protection executive, accomplished this by training volunteers on the schemes and information. They also set up a Social Protection Helpdesk at the Municipal Corporation in Matabari Block. People could reach out to the Gopal, and he would help solve their queries and help them avail several government schemes. “A lot of people benefited through this effort. The need for such interventions is very high in states like Tripura, having less accessibility and very limited information,” adds Debnath.
Timely support and resources have been helping vulnerable populations in Tripura become more resilient to future emergencies and challenges. With the help of CAC, VHA continues to train and educate the community on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies so that they can become more self-sufficient and withstand future crises.
Collaborations like these have the potential to make a significant and lasting impact on the lives of vulnerable populations, helping these individuals and communities become more resilient, self-sufficient and able to bounce back from adversity.