ASHA workers living Despair life.
The government needs ASHA workers for almost every health scheme, including the only one to fight COVID-19 but what if these warriors get frustrated. Anita Sharma ASHA workers have so many questions for government and health minister, "My job working hours have changed since Coronavirus pandemic, These days I work for 12 hours a day, my meagre salary is 2000rs per months and even I have not got my salary since February." Said Anita in talking with vinyasa.
ASHA workers are now thinking that social media can help them to raise their voice but issue not only with salary, but these warriors are also fighting COVID-19 pandemic without proper safety equipment, they are getting only 500ml bottle of sanitizer from the government yet she didn't say no to her job, every day she wakes up at 8:00 am and go out in Haryana to do her job with a prayer on her lips. "They wanted us to do everything but don't give us even the minimum protection," said Anita Sharma.
Every health scheme of government cannot be implemented on the grassroots level without ASHA workers like Anita. Every work like distribution of medicine or collection of data is possible only with the help of these workers yet nine lakhs ASHA workers like Anita are unprotected and poorly paid.
Not only the government, but society is also not giving helping hands to these warriors, “In Kozhikode, one worker’s scooter was damaged when she asked a group of men to disperse during the lockdown. Some men ask why they should listen to a woman,” says P.P. Prema, an ASHA worker from Kerala.
Worse, the sacrifice of the life of ASHA workers doesn't matter for anyone, Bheemakka, 51-year-old ASHA worker died on duty in Badanakatte village in Ballari district, Karnataka, on May 13. But later on, doctors argued that she died by cardiac arrest so she is not eligible for COVID-19 health insurance while her family seeking insurance for the COVID-19 warrior for the whole day.
ASHA workers are being boycotted by society, Renuka was working in a high-risk area with a cluster of 20 cases when she tested positive. She was boycotted by villagers after she recovered and came back her home. “My neighbours stayed away from me and my daughter. Even at work, I faced a stigma. A lot of us have unfounded fears about the disease. Most people want to avoid you, even if you have been cured.” said Renuka.
Worker's unions have come out against the inhumanity acts with these frontline health warriors, president of the ASHA Karyakartara Sangha S. Varalakshmi in Karnataka says: “The government maintains that Bheemakka did not die on duty. She was on duty when she collapsed. She died on the way to the hospital. How can it be treated as not dying on duty? We have demanded that all ASHA and Anganwadi workers and health assistants be regularised or treated on par with other regular employees and given all benefits such as insurance.”
Government and society, probably listens less that's why wherever ASHA workers are part of a strong union, they get heard. In Maharashtra ASHA workers didn't get salary since September 2019, workers threatened to go on strike then Maharashtra government promised them to pay up, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal are other States where salaries have been delayed. An ASHA worker’s salary typically works out to ₹2,000 per month from the Centre and ₹2,000 from the State governments.
Official Writer - Kartik Sharma