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Govt Cracks the Whip on 'Double Role' of ASHA Workers

Around 759 members of the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) scheme, who are also elected local body representatives in the state, will have to resign from one assignment, and focus on being either ASHA workers or local body representatives.

Published: 09th March 2014 10:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2014 10:42 AM   |  A+A-

Around 759 members of the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) scheme, who are also elected local body representatives in the state, will have to resign from one assignment, and focus on being either ASHA workers or local body representatives. The decision comes in the wake of the field activities of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being severely affected by this double-role playing by the workers.

There are a total of 28,946 ASHA workers in the state working under NRHM. In the last local body elections, several of them got elected to panchayats, but they continued in their capacity as ASHA workers while still holding charge as representative of their respective wards.

The Health and Family Welfare Department had issued an order on August 26, 2013, directing the ASHA workers to resign from their post. However, the order was not implemented following resistance by the workers. Now, the government has directed all local bodies in the state to strictly implement the order. NRHM director M Beena said that the government order has already been forwarded to the local bodies. 

ASHA workers are the link between community and health services to ensure primary healthcare for the poor in rural areas. When these ASHA workers got elected, the functioning of the NRHM was badly affected as the elected workers did not have time to fulfil their duties as ASHA workers. It was then that the government decided to discontinue the services of ASHA workers who are also members of local bodies.

Health and Family Welfare Department deputy secretary Bindu Thankachy said that the order was issued following a request in this regard by the Health Department. For the smooth functioning of NHRM schemes, new workers will have to be deployed. Usha Pradeep, former Kumbalangi panchayat president, said that a similar order had been issued by the government earlier. But it was not implemented effectively and the ASHA workers who were also the representatives of local bodies were allowed to continue in both posts. 

The monthly remuneration for an ASHA worker is `500 and that of a panchayat members is `3,500. As the government has issued the order to all the local bodies, the ASHA workers will be relieved from their functions with immediate effect.



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