Even as India continues to fight against COVID-19, the efforts of frontline health workers as been commendable. These coronavirus warriors have proved their mettle through their relentless and innumerable contribution toward tackling the pandemic in India, many of whom are women.
In rural India, this battle against the pandemic is being led by an army of women health workers - the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) or frontline health workers. These women have emerged as the heroes defending locals from the virus and also fo spreading coronavirus awareness in areas that have minimal access to media or technology.
The non-profit organisation Population Foundation of India (PFI), which works closely with such health workers at the grassroots level, has produced a short film celebrating their exemplary courage.
The film showcases ASHA and ANM workers as they go about their daily rounds in villages and small towns helping their communities in the face of a global pandemic.
The short film was released on the MyGov page on Facebook and had 4.75 million views within the first 24 hours of being posted.
The film, which is a little over a minute long, highlights the essential tasks performed by frontline health workers such administering the polio vaccine, working with pregnant women, and educating people about social distancing and hygiene.
ANMs and ASHAs are trained in basic health care and focus the core of their work in looking after the requirements of children, adolescents and women in their communities. Much of their work also includes raising awareness and educating their communities on issues around family planning, vaccinations, maternal health, nutrition and child health.
“These women are warriors who have not just been performing their regular duties taken on additional responsibilities to raise awareness, conduct house to house surveys, monitor returning migrants and educate their communities on the precautions to take to curb the pandemic. To ensure they have the support they require to continue their work we should provide them with stable employment, training and social security benefits. They must be empowered with tools for health education and communication for behaviour change. This film is a small gesture compared to their tremendous work on the ground,” added Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director, Population Foundation of India.
The last three months under lockdown have been incredibly difficult for frontline workers. In parts of the country they have faced discrimination and even violence because of their work with Covid 19 patients. Moreover, with transport services restricted, accessibility to health care facilities has been a huge concern.
The efforts pf such ground-level health workers who are trying their best to mitigate the crisis, however has been massive.