Coronavirus: ASHA workers endure abuse and assault on field

Last Updated 22 April 2020, 12:41 IST

Health workers visiting some coronavirus containment zones in Maharashtra's Nagpur have complained that they were spat upon by some people, pelted with stones and abused at times while conducting surveys.

However, despite such experiences, the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers are carrying out their work "as service towards the nation and the society".

Apart from spreading awareness about the coronavirus infection, ASHA workers are supposed to conduct house-to-house visits to look for cases of TB, cancer etc.

Asha worker Usha Thakur told PTI on Wednesday that at least 21 teams are currently doing field work in two coronavirus containment zones--Satranjipura ans Shanti Nagar-- in the city.

When asked about the challenges faced by them, she said, "In some areas, people do not give us proper information. They also avoid sharing their contact numbers fearing that they might be detained by authorities," she said.

Recalling another incident, Thakur said a woman had once abused a team of ASHA workers in a foul language.

"On one occasion, some local residents had tried to snatch our mobile phones. Many a times stones were hurled at us. We were spat upon at times," said Thakur.

When asked whether such experiences do not deter us, Thakur said, "We are doing this as the service towards the nation and the society".

"We have the emergency contact numbers of police and we know that help is just a call away," she said.

Another ASHA worker said she had also faced resistance while doing work.

However, it is not that all people behave in a similar hostile manner, she said, adding that many people had cooperated with them.

Most of these ASHA workers are attached to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe admitted that civic employees had endured such hostile experiences.

He warned of strict action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against anyone not cooperating.

Nagpur had reported 90 COVID-19 cases till April 21 night.

(Published 22 April 2020, 12:41 IST)

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