WHO Global Health Leaders’ award to ASHA workers

ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers received the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 in the backdrop of the 75th World Health Assembly. World Health Organization (WHO) said that ASHA workers were honored for their key role in linking the community with health care, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. They were one of the six recipients of the award.

Who are the other recipients of the award?

The other five recipients are:

  1. Eight volunteer polio workers who were shot and killed by gunmen in Afghanistan in February this year.
  2. Dr. Paul Farmer for his contribution to providing services for marginalized people.
  3. Dr. Ahmed Hankir for his anti-stigma program that blends storytelling with psychiatry.
  4. Volleyball player Ludmila Sofia Oliveira Varela for facilitating access to sports as an alternative to risky behavior in youth.
  5. Yohei Sasakawa for his global fight against leprosy and the associated stigma.

Who are ASHA workers?

ASHA workers are community health workers, who connect the marginalized communities to India’s health care system. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) first established the role of ASHA workers in 2005. They create awareness of health and mobilize the community towards local health planning. Thus, they are at the forefront of healthcare delivery in India. There are around ten lakh ASHA workers.

A female resident of the respective village, who is married, widowed, or divorced in the age group of 25 to 45 years qualified up to the tenth grade, will be selected as an ASHA worker by the gram Panchayat (local government). These criteria can also be relaxed, if a suitable literate candidate is not available.

ASHA workers are paid an honorarium in the range of Rs 7,000 – Rs 10,000 per month for their services. They also receive outcome-based remuneration. For example, if an ASHA worker facilitates an institutional delivery she receives ₹600. ASHA workers are demanding better wages and that they should be made permanent employees of the government.

What are their roles and responsibilities?

The tasks of ASHA workers include encouraging institutional births, bringing children to immunization clinics, encouraging family planning, treating the basic injury with first aid, maintaining demographic records, improving village sanitation, etc.

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Comments

  • Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Reply

    Health is wealth. ASHA workers are showing the way.