The number of coronavirus positive cases has increased further to 13,626, as of April 17, 2020. While the death toll due to COVID-19 has touched 450.
Globally, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 145,521 people and infected around 2,182,197 people.
Positive cases continue to emerge in the US despite the strict government measures, while Britain has extended its lockdown by another three weeks and the EU is witnessing the doubling of cases.
WHO says Europe is in the ‘eye of a storm’.
Female Health workers Take Lead in India
Female community healthcare workers in large numbers are supporting the Indian Government in its fight against the COVID-19 virus.
Around 70,000 women health workers in Maharashtra have come forward to serve the government despite low payments, keeping aside factors like vulnerability to virus and social stigma.
“The value of our life is just 30 rupees (less than USD 1), according to the government. The government is paying us 1,000 rupees a month for corona-related work. That is 30 rupees daily for putting our life in danger,” says Alka Nalawade, a community health worker or Asha worker in Maharashtra.
Alka is one of the 70,000 Accredited Social Health Activists (Asha) healthworkers.
Asha workers, who are majorly picked from rural communities, are crucial in India is taking healthcare services to the grass-root levels.
[Also Read: Aarogya Setu App: A Digital Initiative to ‘Fight COVID-19’]
Now, they are playing a similar crucial role in the country’s fight against COVID-19, visiting door-to-door to educate families about the virus and safety measures, and also monitor people for the virus symptoms.
But they are at serious risk this time, given the shortage of masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other necessary covers, which the medical professionals are already facing across the nation.
Some of them have reportedly told media that they are using cotton masks, which they wash daily for reuse, and sanitiser as a mix of spirit and water.
“Wherever there is lack of safety equipment, we have instructed the local administration about it. Ashas have been putting their lives in danger on a meagre salary. They should be protected. It’s the government’s responsibility to support them,” says Maharashtra Health Minister Rajendra Yadravkar.
Besides, they are also concerned of the fact that health workers are facing public attacks across the nation.
“We are working for the people, but if the same people are going to behave with us this way, what are we supposed to do?”
“How are we supposed to meet our household expenses with 30 rupees?” she asks. ‘‘What if I get infected with the virus? Who will look after us? Will I get treated for 30 rupees?” says the healthcare worker.
Moreover, they are also concerned about due recognition for their hardwork.
“Nobody even mentions our work. From the prime minister to the chief minister, everybody only praises doctors and police. We visit each and every household and provide these numbers to the government. The government talks based on these numbers, but they don’t talk about the Ashas who collect the numbers,” says Anjana Wankhede.
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