COVID: Pregnant ASHA workers in Odisha choose people’s safety over personal risk

Even in the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy, ASHA workers of Ganjam are selflessly serving on the ground to keep people safe from the deadly virus. Sisir Panigrahy brings out their stories

Published: 30th May 2021 04:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th May 2021 09:14 AM   |  A+A-

A health care worker holds a collected sample of Covid-19 test, inside a mobile testing van, amid the surge in coronavirus cases in Amritsar,

Representational Image (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Rajeswari Behera is currently in her seventh month of pregnancy. Yet, every morning the ASHA worker at Nimakhandi health sub-centre in Bapuji Nagar area of Berhampur city starts off on her door-to-door visits armed with an oximeter and a thermal screening device, screening people at their doorsteps as part of Covid-19 surveillance.

Her daily routine also includes visiting Covid positive patients in home isolation in the area and take note of their condition and well-being.

Rajeswari Behera during door-to-door
survey at Bapuji Nagar in Berhampur 

Apart from door-to-door survey, she educates people to follow safety guidelines like wearing masks and maintaining social distance and not travel unnecessarily.

Seven persons have died of Covid-19 in Bapuji Nagar in the second wave but that has not deterred her from doing her job every day without fail.

“My job gives me a scope to serve my people, my State. There is no way I can say no to this work as it gives me immense satisfaction”, says the 24-year-old ASHA worker.

She is not the only one who is taking great risk to perform her duty on the frontlines. Many pregnant ASHA workers in Ganjam district are leading the fight against the virus, virtually putting themselves at stake.

Like Rajeswari, ASHA workers Suchitra Jena of Angaragaon in Beguniapada block, Kabita Rout of Chanameri village under Digapahandi block and Rasmita Pradhan of Adapada village under Sanakhemundi block are also pregnant but working against all odds ever since the second wave of the pandemic started. 

Under the Berhampur Municipality (BeMC) limits, ASHAs Gellahmani Sahu of Ward 1, Mita Behera of Rambha, Kabita Behera of Humma and Sunita Sahu of Khandadeuli, are eight months pregnant and continue to work tirelessly to keep the virus at bay.

Apart from checking people’s health status, the ASHA workers ensure check-up of pregnant women, immunisation of newborns/infants, providing ORS and medicines to ailing persons, among other things. 

Amid the fear of the virus, they take precautionary measures to keep themselves and their families safe, with masks and sanitisers being their only safeguards. None of them have been vaccinated so far. The State government, on its part, has hiked their monthly pay to `3,500. Asked if they are happy with the hike, the ASHA workers said even as the amount is not much, it is sufficient to supplement their family income. 


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