Musahar people lag behind in vaccinationThe majority of people in the Musahar settlements are unvaccinated as they lack awareness, local leaders say.
Rukmati Devi Majhi, a 58-year-old woman from the Musahar community in Chandrapur Municipality-9, is unaware about the vaccination drive against coronavirus. Rukmati and her entire family are yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Not only Rukmati and her family but most people in the Musahar settlement are unaware about the ongoing vaccination drive against Covid-19.
“Covid-19 cannot kill us. If we are going to die, no vaccine can save us. That’s why we are not interested in the vaccination process,” said Rukmati. “There are 70 households in the village and until now, not a single person has contracted the virus. A few people suffered from colds and fever but nobody went for a checkup.”
Most people in the Musahar community don’t know what the vaccine does or where and when to get it. Despite the provision of vaccination in schools, Musahar children are deprived of it as they have stopped going to school.
The majority of the people in another Musahar community in Gajura Municipality-9 have also been deprived of vaccines. There are 119 households in this impoverished community with almost 200 children.
“The government has started inoculating all children aged 12 to 17 at school. But the children of this community don't go to school,” said health workers.
According to Nathuni Majhi, a Musahar community leader, people in his community go to work in brick kilns and have poor economic conditions. They have neither the time nor the awareness to get vaccinated, he said.
“Only 20 percent of the total population in my community are vaccinated,” said Majhi.
According to the data of the District Administration Office, Gaur, 119 people have died due to Covid-19 in Rautahat district.
“The total population of the district is 586,000, out of which 45 percent is vaccinated. Most of the unvaccinated people are from the Dalit community,” said Suresh Yadav, chief of Gaur Health Office. Yadav said that the health office is deploying mobile teams in villages targeting Dalits and those who do not come for vaccination.
Health workers say that the authorities need to raise awareness on the importance of vaccines against Covid-19.
“Most of the unvaccinated people in the district come from the Dalit community, including Musahar and Dom,” health workers say.
The Musahar community rely on agriculture, fishing and labour to make a living.
According to Prakash Musahar, a leader of the Musahar community, after the authorities launched awareness programmes, a few people from his community got vaccinated. But a majority remain unvaccinated, he said.
There are 60 small and large Musahar settlements across Rautahat district with 2,050 houses and a total population of around 20,000. Musahar people are deprived of most government services due to a lack of education and poor economic conditions.