Syllabus: General Studies Paper 4 (Ethics)
Case Study: Attitude
You are appointed as the head of the health department of a state. You have been tasked with the aim of vaccinating all the children in the state in the age group of nine months to 15 years with Measles Rubella (MR) vaccine within 6 months. There are various challenges in front of you such as many people don’t know about the significance of MR vaccine and about the vaccination sites. Moreover, the health department is facing resistance to vaccination, mainly from minority groups over suspicion that the vaccine would cause impotency among their children. This suspicion is emerging due to alleged fake messages on social media about adverse effects of vaccination on children. Given the situation
a) Identify the root cause of the problems highlighted in the case.
b) Suggest some innovative measures, including a focus on utilization of technology, which you would take to achieve the given target.
The case involves the aspect of awareness, attitude, misuse of technology and social media.
Stakeholders involved in the case
- Children to be vaccinated and their parents.
- The social media giants.
- The general public.
- The government.
(a) Root cause of the problems highlighted in the case
- Resistance to vaccination:
- This is due to the development of negative attitude towards vaccination, which has been developed by the spread of the rumour of impotency and fears of communalism and majoritarianism already existing among minority groups.
- Lack of awareness:
- This is due to the lack of availability of information about the benefits of MR vaccine and vaccination sites in the public domain.
- Fake messages on social media:
- This is due to the irresponsible behaviour of creators and consumer of fake messages. Also lack of regulation of social media platforms is responsible.
(b) Innovative measures
I would take the following innovative measures to achieve the target.
- Creating Awareness among public
- Conduct Massive outreach programme to remove doubts about safety of vaccines.
- Conduct some plays to demonstrate the importance and advantages of vaccination
- Start an Awareness programmes over community radio stations.
- Request schools to join hands in spreading awareness.
- Peer-to-peer messages from parents could be sent to spread the awareness in the public.
- Advertisements containing a warning about fake messages and ways to verify information shall be done on public platforms.
- Utilization of technology
- Technology paired with social media could be used to reach the last child possible and for debunking rumours spread through fake messages.
- Create an advertisement and spread importance and advantages of vaccination on social media platforms.
- Will build a responsive website where parents can interact via social media with the research team and with other participants, asking questions regarding vaccines.
- GPS mapping of fixed MR session sites that are searchable online could be done in order to aware people of the location of vaccination camps.
- Real-time online monitoring of data and logistics about vaccine stocks can be done in order to avoid errors of omission and shortage of vaccinations.
- Social media giants can utilize artificial intelligence to curb fake news.
- Support from sports persons/Actors/religious heads can be taken in vaccination campaigns to persuade the public.
- Ask District officials to get their children vaccinated in public to set an example and create a sense of reassurance among the residents.
- Will take the help of AASHA workers and other NGO to convince parents.
- We will try to provide the facts about ill effects about not vaccinating but we also try to make the conversation personable and engaging.
- Facts are important—but trust and empathy are also keys to changing hearts and minds.
- Social media giants can be persuaded for self-regulation to restrict the misuse of their platform.
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