ASHA Employees receive WHO's Global Health Leaders Award; PM Modi expresses happiness

ASHA Employees receive WHO's Global Health Leaders Award; PM Modi expresses happiness


The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognised India's one million all-women ASHA volunteers for their critical role and contribution to extending health care facilities in rural areas, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important to note that ASHA workers are the Indian government's affiliated health workers who are the first point of contact for access to healthcare facilities in rural India. The majority of them came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic, when infection rates were extremely high due to limited access to healthcare in rural areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his delight on Twitter after ASHA workers were awarded the WHO's Global Health Leaders' Award. PM Modi praised their efforts and contributions to the health-care sector, writing, "They are at the forefront of ensuring a healthy India. Their dedication and determination is admirable."

According to a press release, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced six awards to recognise outstanding contributions to global health, demonstrated leadership, and commitment to regional health issues. Accredited Social Health Activist Workers were among the six awardees (ASHA). The awardees are chosen by Dr Tedros, who stated that the award honours those who have made outstanding contributions to protecting and promoting health around the world.

The Accredited Social Health Activist Workers (ASHA) are more than 1 million female volunteers in India, honoured for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system and ensuring that those living in rural poverty can access primary health care services, according to WHO.

Noting that ASHA stands for hope, it recalled how health workers play an important role in providing people with essential health services such as maternal care, immunisation, community health care, treatment, health promotion, sanitation, and healthy living.

Notably, ASHA workers were among the first to launch emergency relief operations during the pandemic and later became the face of the vaccination drive in rural India.