World Health Organization Honors India’s ASHA Workers for Work in Healthcare
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has honored India’s more than one million Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) for connecting people with healthcare services.
ASHA, which means “hope” in Hindi, are among the six recipients of Global Health Leaders Award at the ongoing 75th World Health Assembly.
ASHAs are trained female volunteers who take healthcare services to rural, marginalized, and hard-to-reach communities across India. They provide maternal care and immunization for children; community healthcare; treatment for hypertension and tuberculosis; and services for nutrition, sanitation, and healthy living.
ASHAs “play a critical role in India’s primary healthcare system, including during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing essential health services to millions of people. In Hindi, ASHA means hope. And that is exactly what the ASHAs deliver”, the WHO said in a statement.
The Global Health Leaders Awards recognize outstanding contributions to advancing global health, demonstrated leadership, and commitment to regional health issues.
The award also recognized late Dr. Paul Farmer, former Chair of Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, for his contribution to providing direct healthcare services, research, and advocacy for those who are ailing and living in poverty; Dr. Ahmed Hankir, British-Lebanese psychiatrist, for his anti-stigma programmed that blends in the power of performing arts and story-telling with psychiatry, he is Senior Research fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research in association with Cambridge University; volleyball player Ludmila Sofia Oliveira Varela for facilitating access to sports as an alternative to risky behavior in youth; and Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, for his global fight against leprosy and the associated stigma and social discrimination.
The other recipients include eight volunteer polio workers who were shot and killed by armed gunmen in Afghanistan in February this year.