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The Hindu – Vijayawada

ASHAs and Anganwadi workers who protect the most vulnerable groups from ill health and malnutrition are angry over the raw deal meted out to them

They have been working tirelessly at the community level taking up door-to-door surveys and kicking up awareness campaigns. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, they got busy in contact-tracing and making arrangements at quarantine or isolation centres where the COVID-infected persons were shifted to contain the virus.

This is in addition to their regular duties of accompanying pregnant women to health centres, keeping track of their immunisation, making home visits for new-born care and following up on their health progress.

 

The all-women brigades of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and the Anganwadi Workers and Helpers, who protect the most vulnerable groups from ill health and malnutrition, are angry over the raw deal meted out to them and have resorted to a series of protests, demanding effective redressal to their immediate problems.

The State has around 42,000 ASHAs who have been playing a crucial role in decentralising health care and strengthening the primary health system. Their contribution to the increase in institutional deliveries, immunisations and decline in maternal and infant mortality cannot be disputed.

 

Better pay and job security

“We have been asking the government to regularise our services, an increased budget allocation to the National Health Mission (NHM) by the Centre, payment of the arrears of monthly ‘corona allowance’ of ₹1000 from January 2020 to June 2020, insurance cover to the workers who died of COVID-19 and implementation of welfare schemes for the fraternity,” says Dhana Lakshmi, general secretary of the AP ASHA Workers’ Union.

Retirement benefits, labour codes and immediate measures to stop forcible administration of covaxin to health activists are their other demands. Citing the demise of B. Vijayalakshmi, an ASHA worker from Penumaka village in Guntur…


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