Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) in Karnataka have emerged as a “crucial pillar in the states success” in combating COVID-19, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday (July 3).
Acknowledging and praising their work, the ministry said they have been actively participating in household surveys in the state, screening inter-state passengers, migrant workers and others in the community for symptoms of the infection.
Around 42,000 ASHAs have emerged as a crucial pillar in the states success in combating COVID-19, the ministry said. “Recognizing the increased vulnerability of certain population groups to COVID-19, in a one-time survey to identify households with the elderly, persons with co-morbidities, and immune-compromised individuals, about 1.59 crore households were covered,” the ministry said in a statement.
ASHAs regularly monitor such high-risk groups in their area with periodicity of follow-up visits varying from once a day in the containment zones to once every 15 days in other areas, it said. They also visit the houses of persons complaining influenza-like-illness (ILI) symptoms and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), besides high-risk individuals who have called the state health department helpline numbers, the ministry said.
ASHAs are a part of the Rural Task Force, headed by Panchayat Development Officer (PDO) at the Gram Panchayat level, for addressing public grievances on both COVID-19 and non COVID-19 related services. ASHAs are trained female community health activists selected from the village itself and accountable to it. They are trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.
In the urban areas too, they have been on the forefront of dissemination of various awareness activities in fever clinics and swab collection centres in urban areas. They have also actively screened cases of ILI and SARI in the urban areas. They are also part of the screening teams at international and interstate check-posts. Karnataka has reported 272 COVID-19 deaths and 18,016 cases, according to the health ministry data updated at 8 am.