During his presentation for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (India), Gaurav Sablania, general manager - product and insights, Wavemaker, India, described how India went about administering a billion vaccination doses against Covid-19 in a record time.
“It wasn't easy and experts thought it'll take three to four years to administer these doses. India is not just one country. The country has a population of 1.4 billion people in 28 states and four union territories with 22 spoken languages,” said Sablania.
He then listed the three major roadblocks that the vaccination programme in India faced:
1) Misinformation about vaccines being spread by fake news, leading to hesitancy in taking the vaccines.
2) The second wave struck when the vaccine programme was rolled out.
3) Educating and telling the country to not let its guard down around Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Sablania stated that a war room was set up, which was a national rapid response team at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Explaining how this operated, he said, “We had social conversations from different locations. We identified cohorts and the concerns and then had communication ready to address these. We were identifying new themes and putting them in the engine to answer the pain points or the concerns of the citizens. We also fixed glitches on the vaccine registration app. We prioritised our focus on states with high stress or sensitivity, identified states with high resistance and took them up on priority.”
He added that the concerns were addressed by identifying key themes on the level of priority.
“We optimised efforts by contextualising our communication by regions. We focused on driving relevance and resonance by measuring our content. These insights were actioned by customised vernacular coverage with diverse themes like those on mental health, Covid appropriate behaviour that addressed myths and stated the facts."
Videos were released through Facebook Lives, and FAQs were listed on the website and press releases.
Sablania stated that while there was no traditional ROI for the institution, there was major growth in the following of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare grew by 37% in terms of followers. The engagement with the content was 52.8 million with 347 million video views. The content was 42x more engaging than the US and 95X more than the UK, even though the digital population of India is only 2x of the US and 10X of the UK. The big result was that we achieved a billion vaccinations in 170 days, 80 days sooner than the Government planned to.”
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