Three Thimphu dzongkhag officials walked for more than 12 hours in rain through muddy road infested with leech to Gaytala chiwog under Dagala gewog on July 23 to vaccinate the highlanders.
Gaytala is one of the remotest chiwogs in the gewog. It is officially three days journey from the gewog centre but it takes 12 hours to reach chiwog if people travel via Toktokha village in Chukha dzongkhag.
The three officials, two health workers and a gewog administrative officer, started their journey from Thimphu at 5am and reached Toktokha at 8am via vehicle. The team then walked for 12 hours to reach the chiwog.
The team vaccinated 13 highlanders on July 24 and 25. There are 20 nomads eligible for vaccination in the chiwog. The nomads gathered in the village health worker’s house to receive the vaccination.
A nomad, Tshering Lam, said she did not know which type of vaccination she received. “The officials struggled to vaccinate us and I am not bothered about the type of vaccination.”
She, however, said she was aware of the benefits of the vaccination.
The village health worker, Sangay Khandu, said he was thankful to His Majesty the King for bringing the vaccine at their doorstep. “It would be difficult for us to visit the gewog centre to receive the vaccination as we have to look after the yaks.”
The gewog administrative officer said all highlanders were eager to receive the vaccination. “Some highlanders had to walk for more than two hours to reach Sangay Khandu’s house to receive the vaccination.”
Nomads of Naro gewog migrated to a higher altitude to their summer pastureland and couldn’t reach the gewog centre to receive the vaccine.
Thimphu dzongkhag and gewog decided to vaccinate the nomads in their pastureland by creating a new vaccination post in Zomthang, which is situated 4,700 metres above sea level. In Zomthang, 34 nomads received the vaccination. Nomads from Waza, Chagophu, Kora, Layul lay, toed, and Domina walked to Zomthang to receive the vaccine.
The officials also walked for about four days to reach Zomthang.
Nomads in Lingzhi also walked for more than a day and half to reach the vaccination post in Gangyul outreach clinic and Lingzhi Primary School.
The vaccine was airlifted on July 18 and the vaccination began from July 20.
Health assistant of Lingzhi Primary Health Centre, Tandin Tshewang, said unlike the first vaccination campaign where people were reluctant to receive vaccines, nomads were coming forward to receive the vaccine this time.
He said people understood the importance of the vaccine and took the effort to walk in rain and mud for days.
About 470 nomads were vaccinated in Lingzhi.
Tandin Tshewang said there are 507 people eligible for the vaccine but some had been vaccinated in other dzongkhags and seven breastfeeding mothers were not vaccinated.
Edited by Tashi Dema