ASHA lose interest as govt fails to pay remuneration

Asha is a strategy under NRHM for taking the public health services to the communities effectively.

According to the government’s plan, Dakshina Kannada was added in the III phase for the implementation of the strategy and hence the district could begin the programmes only six months ago. Soon after the announcement of the programme, as many as  1,295 activists were trained at the District Training Centre in Suratkal and till date, seven  batches  comprising of 689 Asha workers have begun their work in their respective villages.

As per the programme manual, Asha workers are supposed to be provided with a decent remuneration. The incentive is fixed based on the type of cases handled by these social workers. Accordingly, the amount varies from Rs 150 to Rs 650.

Ironically,  government has failed to offer the incentives to these women on time, despite the fact that they have been toiling hard in their villages doing survey,  visiting homes, taking up deliveries and spreading health awareness among the rural population.

Activists talk

Sharing their anguish  to Deccan Herald, one of the Asha workers on condition of anonymity said that she has not received any incentive till date though she has been working since three months. “I have taken care of six delivery cases in our village and have not even minded helping the women in need at midnight. It is quite disappointing that I have not yet received any kind of remuneration for the work I have done,” she said.

  A former  beedi worker opted to be an Asha worker with the intention to help the people in her village. “Now I am finding it difficult to make both ends meet because I have lost the income I used to earn by rolling beedi. I am left in dire straits,” she reveals.

Another Asha worker said that she too has not yet received any amount for the work done though she has been submitting her work report from past four months. “I agree that Asha programme has given us an identity and an opportunity to serve the society, but it is not feasible for someone like me who hails from poor family to work without any incentive. Me and my colleagues have enquired about the matter in the Primary Health Centres many a times, but it has yielded no fruits. Many of us are even contemplating of giving up,” she says

When contacted, District Programme Management Officer for NRHM  Dr Arun Kumar said that as the programme has been implemented recently there is some delay in handing over the amount.

“The medical officers have received their guidelines and there might be some confusion prevailing in sorting out the things. Amounts will be provided soon based on the service rendered by the workers,” he informed.

Though Asha has proved to be a beneficiary programme even in a ‘forward’ district like Dakshina Kannada, it is definitely questionable as how far is it right to expect the workers to serve in the name of social service, without paying any rewards.

Comments (+)