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Badghis: Community Engagement Program Plays a mind changer role

Vaccines save millions of lives each year worldwide from infectious diseases, such as hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, and polio. But, the hesitation towards vaccination remains a problem not only in Afghanistan but all over the world.

On July, 17th, 2023 DACAAR started the Community Engagement Program under the SBC (Social Behavior Change) Project in the Aab Kamary District of Badghis Province, Afghanistan.

This life-saving and life-changing project is funded by UNICEF The Community Engagement Program includes (WASH, Vaccine, Nutrition, Education, and Child Protection messages) and many people have participated in the program.

One of the residents of the Khawaja Pesta Village, Mohammad Arif Son of Abdul Ghafoor was a long-time steady opponent of the vaccination program. He had various opposing ideas regarding the Vaccines, was spreading negative rumors in his village, and trying to stop villagers from vaccinating their children. According to his beliefs, the implementation of vaccines is causing brainwashing, addiction, sterilization, etc.

DACAAR SBC project team conducted regular meetings with the villagers, especially with the village elders, and with Ulama (Religious Scholars), to convince Mohammad Arif and other people who have negative ideas regarding the vaccines. They explained the importance of health, and vaccines from the Islamic point of view, provided clear, and useful information; and gave live examples of the vaccine implementations, they encouraged and convinced Mohammad Arif to vaccinate his children, and remain positive regarding vaccinations.

As a result, his behavior towards vaccines has changed. Now he has positive thinking regarding vaccinations, and he knows the importance of vaccines. Furthermore, he encourages his family members and villagers to vaccinate their children.

According to Mohammad Arif, he participated in DACAAR SBC project team meetings and learned useful things needed to maintain good health. Especially the importance and effectiveness of vaccination for children, which he was opposing in the past. He has been convinced and changed his thinking towards vaccination. Now, he wants to vaccinate his children.

Mohammad Arif is no longer opposing vaccinations. He has utterly changed and requested DACAAR to extend its SBC activities to all villages of Aab Kamary District to shape a safe and healthy society in the future.

Written by: Israrullah Sahil