MANSI Program’s Community Health Workers are Reaching Out in the Current Health Crisis
Taramuni Sankh is an award-winning Sahiya Saathi (ASHA facilitator) in Jharkhand. Over 14 years ago, she joined the community health worker force in Jharkhand or Sahiyas as they are known in Jharkhand, and by 2010 Taramuni was training under the MANSI program. She is now an ASHA Facilitator and oversees 18 ASHAs, covering close to 8525 population. In partnership with Tata Steel (TSRDS), 134 ASHA Facilitators like Taramuni and 2265 community health workers have been trained in response to COVID-19 and were provided with masks for self-protection by Tata Steel. Together, they are a formidable force across 1686 villages in Jharkhand and Odisha.
MANSI’s frontline community health workers are responsible for community awareness on what is COVID-19 , what are its symptoms, how it spreads, what are protection and preventive measures for self, family and community like social distancing, handwash steps, proper use of mask, which group of people are at higher risk of getting infected, helpline numbers, instructions for home quarantine, and common myths vs facts.
In a short interview, Taramuni tells us about the challenges faced by communities in remote villages, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Support the #AIFCOVID19Response by ensuring that our frontline health workers are protected with masks, gloves, and sanitizer.
What measures are already in place in the villages?
Almost everything has stopped, there are no weekly markets. Anganwadi Centers and schools are closed, the Village Health and Nutrition Day (VHND) activity and meetings are suspended. We Sahiyas are making people in villages aware of the Corona Virus and preventive measures to be followed, as well as community surveillance for quarantine. We are also letting them know that they should be aware of flu-like symptoms and immediately report it to the Medical Officer (MO). All the Sahiyas have received masks from MANSI for our own protection while in the field.
How are you reaching your community?
I am working in villages, all meetings at cluster/block level are suspended. I contact the Sahiyas under my supervision, my supervisors, and MANSI health mobilizer by phone for any further assistance needed. I have reached out to all the families for conducting a survey with current data and also creating community awareness for protection from the corona virus. We are doing home visits but we have temporarily stopped direct touch and contact with newborn babies to take their weight and temperature.
What do you need right now?
All information and arrangements are in place with cooperation and coordination of the entire healthcare workforce and stakeholders. However, it is our request that if hand gloves and sanitizers are provided, it would be very helpful for us.