Lowest paid in the hierarchy of health workers, irregular ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers of Punjab will soon be conducting a house-to-house physical survey across the state to find persons with COVID-19 symptoms. However, ASHA workers have claimed that they have not been promised PPE kits or masks for the survey by administration so far.
“Recently, similar survey was conducted in Amritsar by ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwifes). Each ANM was given three PPE kits for three days to cover population of 50,000. They were also given masks. We will be under same risk as they were as nature of the survey is same. This survey is to find COVID-19 patients. It means there could be patient and we can come in direct contact with them. But we are not being provided with PPE kits. We will get just Rs 33 a day to conduct this risky survey,” said Paramjeet Kaur, state secretary of the ASHA workers’ association.
Health authorities in Amritsar, meanwhile, have said that masks will be provided to these workers for the survey, adding that they don’t require PPEs.
“Amritsar survey by ANMs was conducted in hotspot area. ASHA workers have to conduct survey on general public. I do not sit in my office wearing PPE kits. We will provide masks to ASHAs to conduct survey,” said Civil Surgeon, Amritsar, Jugal Kishore.
While orders for the survey by ASHAs have already been issued, the survey is likely to begin in a few days to come.
Each ASHA worker will have to cover population of 1,000 by going around from 200 to 250 households.
“There are around 22,000 ASHA workers in state and each will cover around 200 to 250 households. We will be given around Rs 33 per day for this survey,” added Paramjeet Kaur Mann.
ASHA workers have no fixed salary and work only on the incentive basis.
Mann said: “We are lowest paid workers and have been asked to do the toughest job. We should be provided will all the safety equipment, which were provided to ANMs in Amritsar. Government is not giving us masks. They are being provided by NGOs. Also we should be given minimum Rs 750 per day salary as being given to contractual sanitation worker by Punjab government.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines