Darjeeling, Kalimpong to benefit from ASHA scheme
Darjeeling: Finally, Darjeeling and Kalimpong will be getting the benefit of the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) scheme under the National Health Mission. ASHA workers will be recruited for the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) which includes the Hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. Along with the ASHA workers, ICDS workers will also be recruited in the Hills.
Incidentally, though ASHA workers are recruited throughout the country, owing to certain problems earlier the GTA had failed to recruit them and the Hills were devoid of this facility. With the change of guard at the GTA, ASHA workers are to be recruited for all the eight blocks of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, under the GTA.
"ASHA workers will soon be engaged in the Hills. Later, ICDS vacancies of workers and helpers will also be filled up," stated Joyoshi Das Gupta at the foundation day programme of the Edith Wilkins Street Children Trust in Darjeeling.
The DM added that such employment can help in economic empowerment of women. "We have to work to extend such benefits for the inmates of such homes so that they can be independent financially when they leave," stated the DM.
An order from the Health and Family Welfare Department, National Health Mission, the government of West Bengal, stated that 1440 ASHA workers will be engaged for the Darjeeling-Pulbazar, Gorubathan, Jorebungalow-Sukhiapokhari, Kalimpong 1, Kalimpong 2, Kurseong, Mirik and Rangli-Rangliot blocks under the GTA.
"One ASHA worker is to serve a minimum of 300-500 persons," stated the order. The eligibility for ASHA workers states that the candidate should be married/divorced or widowed within the age group of 30-40 years (in case of SC/ST, the lower age limit has been relaxed to 22 years). The candidate has to be Madhyamik appeared or equivalent and a resident of the same village for which she is selected.
Selection of the ASHA workers will be done on a sub-divisional level by ASHA Selection Committee comprising of MIC/other public representatives of the district as the Chairperson; Sub Divisional Officer as Member Secretary; DPHNO, DPO (ICDS) and BMOH of the concerned blocks as members.
ASHA workers are community health workers instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the government of India under the National Rural Health Mission. They are trained to act as health educators and promoters in their communities.
Their tasks include motivating women to give birth in hospitals; bringing children to immunisation centres; encouraging family planning; treating basic illness and injury with first aid; keeping demographic records and improving village sanitation. They are also meant to serve as a communication mechanism between the healthcare system and the rural populace.