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With ‘Safe Delivery, Safe Life’ Vision, This Uttar Pradesh ASHA Worker Has Changed Her Village’s Healthcare Scenario

ASHA worker Deepti Pandey has been in the healthcare sector for more than a decade. Her primary focus of work surrounds expectant and new mothers, and nutrition among women and children.

Deepti Pandey, 42, has cut the edge of traditional methods of treatment and delivery and has pursued the villagers on the benefits of institutional delivery and how a new mother and her child are safer in a hospital or health centre.

A native of Bahraich village in Uttar Pradesh, Ms. Pandey has been working as an ASHA didi for the last 16 years. Her dedication towards her work bore fruit, and she was promoted to the job of ASHA Sangini in 2013. ASHA Sanginis are a vital cadre for the success of ASHA program of the National Health Mission.

She primarily works towards women's and children's health, family planning, and educating the community about the ailments they are diagnosed with. Besides, she also checks on the vaccination status of families. Ms. Pandey conducts regular surveys and gives her personal attention to any member of the family about all their diseases and health status.

If she comes across an expectant mother, Ms. Pandey would discuss the family's plans for delivery. She makes them understand the importance and benefit of having a delivery in a health facility by a doctor and how it can reduce the risks involved in pregnancy.

Additionally, she drives her focus on nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers. She explains to the families how nutrition is needed for a mother and her growing baby's health and that it is a non-negotiable factor. She keeps a check on women's daily habits of eating around 3-4 meals a day, taking their medicines on time, and much more.

Deepti Pandey was also involved in the campaigns, including Sanchari Abhiyan and Dastak Abhiyan in her village, that were scheduled last month. She and other healthcare workers conduct surveys to find people suffering from tuberculosis, cancer, among others, and register them with the government so they can seek the best treatments.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was tasked with informing people about the causes and effects of the deadly virus, as well as the precautions they should take to avoid infection. But it wasn't an easy road for her. It took a significant amount of time for her to convey her message of opting for present-day methods over age-old ones, given the rigidity among the adults in the family. But now, the villagers come to her to seek her guidance on various healthcare matters.

COVID came as an unnecessary add-on to the multiple roles she was already playing. Several ASHA staff members contracted the virus, which made it an arduous task for her and her colleagues, but they took charge and worked efficiently. From quarantining people to arranging medicines, sanitisers, and masks for them, thesewomen handled it all. They would follow up on every patient, visiting them regularly to ensure they were recovering.

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