Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corp (KDMC) has become the second municipal corporation in Maharashtra to provide COVID vaccine jabs to people disabled due to leprosy. BrihanMumbai Municipal Corp (BMC) was the first to offer COVID vaccine to leprosy patients.
Last month, BMC started vaccination for leprosy patients at its Acworth Municipal Hospital in Wadala. According to a senior healthcare professional, till date the vaccination centre has provided COVID vaccine to 47 destitute, and disabled leprosy patients.
He says, "A team of three doctors, one medical social worker, and one paramedic staff started the process of enrolling eligible leprosy patients, who had the required documents on 1 March 2021 and within few days we enrolled 33 patients."
"All of them are senior citizens with disabilities. Hence it was very risky to send them to other vaccination centres for vaccination. So, we initiated the process to start vaccination at the Acworth Municipal Hospital for Leprosy itself," the healthcare professional says.
On 21 April 2021, Aaditya Thackeray, minister for tourism and environment in Maharashtra inaugurated the vaccination centre at Acworth Municipal Hospital.
As per our information, there are additional 50 leprosy patients at the Wadala vaccination centre, who could not get the jab due to lack of documents. These people do not have any identification document like Aadhaar number or permanent account number (PAN) card, which is mandatory for registration for the COVID vaccine.
These people are waiting for the policy decision from the government so that they can be permitted to get vaccine without any documentation.
Coming back to KDMC, there is an old settlement in the Hanuman Nagar area of Kalyan for leprosy patients. Many of them are disabled and cannot register or go out to get COVID vaccine. Gajanan Mane, a social worker raised the issue with Dr Vijay Suryawanshi, the municipal commissioner. Dr Suryawanshi immediately responded to the request and asked the health department to set up a COVID vaccine centre near the settlement.