Reported by Santosh Jagdev/Edited by Sandeep Sahu
Bhubaneswar, Aug 26:
Hundreds of ASHA karmis from across the state working under the National Rural Heath Mission (NRHM) scheme on Monday staged a massive demonstration in front of Assembly demanding fulfilment of their longstanding demands.
Taking out a rally under Nikhila Odisha Asha Karmi Sangha (NOAKS), affiliated to the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), hundreds of agitating Asha karmis, shouting anti-Government slogans and holding party flags, demanded immediate fulfilment of their demands. The demands include promotion to the post of Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), permanent employment in hospitals, health insurance and monthly pension and rest rooms for the Asha workers in hospitals.
Slamming the State Government for its alleged apathy to the legitimate demands of ASHA workers, Sangha president Dutikrushna Panda said they were being deprived of basic government facilities despite the fact that they play a key role in providing effective healthcare to the rural population, especially women, at grassroots level. “We condemn the apathetic attitude of the Government and urge it to consider the demands at the earliest,” he said.
ASHAs are local women trained to act as health educators and promoters in their communities. Their tasks include motivating women to opt for institutional delivery, bringing children to immunization clinics, encouraging family planning (e.g., surgical sterilization), treating basic illness and injury with first aid, keeping demographic records and improving village sanitation. ASHAs are also meant to serve as a key communication link between the healthcare system and rural populations.