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ASHA workers, pillars of Maharashtra’s Covid management model

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on June 08, 2021

They are actively involved in Covid-19 detection and treatment

Sadhana Pimpale ran pillar to post searching a bed for a pregnant Covid-19 positive woman in a remote Patonda village in Nandurbar district. She not only admitted her to a hospital, but also ensured a safe delivery. Sadhana is not her family member or a relative, but an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) worker who is actively involved in Covid-19 detection and treatment of 275 families in the remote part of Nandurbar.

Sadhana had handled two more similar cases in her locality and to arrange ambulances, medicines and Covid-19 tests for a population of 1,375 for whom she works as ASHA worker. Now, she is focusing on taking villagers to the vaccination centres.

Sadhana says that she and other ASHA workers in Nandurbar have worked 24x7 to handle Covid-19 cases and bring them to hospitals for treatment.

Bhumika Banjari, an ASHA worker in Bhandara district says “We are trying to convince people for early testing and vaccination”.

Facing discrimination

ASHA worker Sunita Kurawade from Hingoli says that many people treat them like pariah and even family members want to keep a distance from them as they continue to work in communities in the time of the pandemic. While speaking to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in an online meeting, Sunita requested him that the honorarium of ₹2,000 per month must be kept intact. She added that ASHA workers walk miles in remote areas putting their lives at risk going to every household to monitor Covid-19 patients, provide them government relief, create awareness and connect them to hospitals.

Also read: Covid-19 frontline warriors in need of the healing touch

About 70,000 ASHA workers in Maharashtra have played a vital role in Covid-19 management in Maharashtra. Not surprisingly, Maharashtra Chief Minister Thackeray calls them “pillars” of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 management model.

ASHA programme

The ASHA programme was introduced as a key component of the community processes intervention. ASHA has emerged as the largest community health worker programme and is considered a critical contributor to enabling people’s participation in healthcare.

“Many are crediting me and the State government for the success in tackling the Covid-19 wave in the State. Maharashtra model has been appreciated in the country. But it is you who are the real pillars of Maharashtra’s success” CM Thackeray told ASHA workers on Monday.

ASHA workers hope that their service is recognized and respected. They have demanded that the State government keep intact the monthly honorarium of ₹2,000 as the majority of ASHA workers come from poor families.

Published on June 08, 2021

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