Updated: May 23, 2022 7:50:14 am
The one million ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers, who are at the forefront of healthcare delivery in India, have received the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 in the backdrop of the on-going 75th World Health Assembly.
“ASHA (which means hope in Hindi) are more than 1 million female volunteers in India, honoured for the crucial role in linking the community with the health system, to ensure those living in rural poverty can access primary healthcare services, as shown throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a release from the World Health Organisation (WHO). They were one of the six recipients of the award.
The other recipients include eight volunteer polio workers who were shot and killed by armed gunmen in Takhar and Kunduz provinces in Afghanistan in February this year. The WHO said that this work is crucial in a country where polio is still in circulation. Notably, Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to be the only two countries in the world where polio is still in transmission.
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The award also recognised the Dr Paul Farmer for his contribution towards providing direct healthcare services, research and advocacy for those who are sick and living in poverty; Dr Ahmed Hankir for his anti-stigma programme that blends in the power of performing arts and storytelling with psychiatry; Volleyball player Ludmila Sofia Oliveira Varela for facilitating access to sports as an alternative to risky behaviour in youth; and Yohei Sasakawa for his global fight against leprosy and the associated stigma and social discrimination.
WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented convergence of inequity, conflict, food insecurity, the climate crisis, and a pandemic, this award recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to protecting and promoting health around the world. These awardees embody lifelong dedication, relentless advocacy, commitment to equity, and selfless service of humanity.”
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