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Covid19: ASHA Worker Contribution Not Acknowledged, Tarigami Says

SRINAGAR: Communist leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has regretted that the governance systems have not acknowledged the contributions that Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers are making in the battle against Covid19. This is despite the fact that they are the main bridge between the public health system and the people.

CITU Holds Protest Against Altering Labour Laws On Wednesday, September 23, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

“They are the most vulnerable section of the health workers amid Covid pandemic. The ASHA workers are put on almost 24 hours’ duty, without leave and asked to conduct surveys, report the cases, getting medical help to the infected, monitoring the patients, follow up with the recovered ones and so on. These are in addition to the vaccination duties for almost 8-9 hours a day,” Tarigami said in a statement.

In the second wave, Tarigami said many ASHA workers and frontline workers are succumbing to Covid19 daily. He regretted that ASHA workers, despite being the backbone of the health system in rural areas working on meagre incentives, have even been left out in a recent incentive scheme announced by the J&K government for COVID-10 warriors.

“It is most unfortunate that most of their families are denied the much-acclaimed compensation of Rs 50 lakhs. These poor employees are not being paid minimum wages nor are there any social security benefits. In the name of ‘honorarium’ or ‘incentive’, they are paid a pittance. The situation is so bad that even their regular monthly remuneration is pending for many months. The successive governments have totally neglected them,” the statement said.

Tarigami said the ASHA workers are in daily and direct contact with the community; they are responsible for collecting information on all health indicators and helping the community to access treatment. They are the first to come in contact with suspected Covid19 patients and help them in getting screened and accessing treatment; they are also maintaining records of those patients and their contacts. Besides they are not having any personal protection equipment (PPE) while dealing with these patients.

“Rs 50 lakhs insurance cover should be provided to all frontline workers covering deaths on duty and pension/jobs for the dependants of the workers and also coverage of treatment for Covid-19 for the entire family,” he demanded. “The existing insurance schemes (a) Pradhan Mantri Jivan Jyoti Bima Yojana, (b) Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and (c) Anganwadi Karyakarti Bima Yojana must be implemented properly with universal coverage applicable to all scheme workers.”

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