ASHAs need govt support

Accredited social health activists, or ASHAs, as they are popularly known, are an integral part of National Rural Health Mission. According to the mission, ASHAs are trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.
Like other places, from child delivery to nutrition to immunization, the ASHAs are at the forefront of health delivery in rural Arunachal. They also mobilize communities in the face of natural disasters.
In Arunachal, where the health facilities are yet to reach rural areas, the ASHAs act as the first responders.
According to government figures of 2018, there are 3,712 ASHAs in Arunachal and each ASHA covers around 350-400 population.
They have a critical role to play in the absence of healthcare facilities. Therefore, the onus is on the government to recognize their role. They need to be paid on time and their incentives must be increased.
The recent news of ASHAs in Upper Subansiri not being given honorariums on time is distressing. They have been working as Covid-19 frontliners. The ASHAs have gone on record to say that they have not been provided with the facilities that are being provided to other frontline workers, even though they too have been performing Covid-19 duties with sincerity and dedication. The government has to recognize the role of the ASHAs.