- ASHAs are the more than 1 million female volunteers in India
- ASHAs are true champions of health: Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO
- ASHAs help bring primary health care to the doorstep of people: Dr Poonam
Geneva: India’s one million all-women ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist Workers) workers were awarded and honoured by WHO for their ‘outstanding’ contribution to advancing global health, demonstrated leadership and commitment to regional health issues. ASHA (which means hope in Hindi) are the more than 1 million female volunteers in India. They were honoured for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system and ensuring those living in rural poverty can access primary health care services, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
ASHAs worked to provide maternal care and immunization for children against vaccine-preventable diseases; community health care; treatment for hypertension and tuberculosis; and core areas of health promotion for nutrition, sanitation, and healthy living, said WHO in its official statement.
Praising the ASHA workers, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia said,
ASHAs are true champions of health who help bring primary health care to the doorstep of people. Their work has always been exemplary, especially during the pandemic. I congratulate this one million-plus all-women workforce for this truly deserving recognition.
The ceremony for the awards, which were established in 2019, was part of the live-streamed high-level opening session of the 75th World Health Assembly.
The WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has announced six Global Health Leaders Awards. Dr Tedros himself decides on the awardees for the World Health Organization Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Awards.
At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented convergence of inequity, conflict, food insecurity, the climate crisis and a pandemic, this award recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to protecting and promoting health around the world,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “These awardees embody lifelong dedication, relentless advocacy, a commitment to equity, and selfless service of humanity, he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.