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WHO – Global Health Leaders Award to ASHA Workers for ‘outstanding’ work

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New Delhi. ASHA workers are more than 1 million female volunteers in India. They were honoured for their crucial role in linking the community with the health system and ensuring those living in rural poverty can access primary health care services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

India’s one million all-women ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist Workers, ASHA means hope in Hindi) workers were awarded and honoured by WHO for their ‘outstanding’ contribution to advancing global health, demonstrated leadership and commitment to regional health issues.

ASHAs worked to provide maternal care and immunization for children against vaccine-preventable diseases; community health care; treatment for hypertension and tuberculosis; and core areas of health promotion for nutrition, sanitation, and healthy living, said WHO in its official statement.

Praising the ASHA workers, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, said, “ASHAs are true champions of health who help bring primary health care to the doorstep of people. Their work has always been exemplary, especially during the pandemic. I congratulate this one million-plus all-women workforce for this truly deserving recognition.”

The ceremony for the awards, which was established in 2019, was part of the live-streamed high-level opening session of the 75th World Health Assembly.

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has announced six Global Health Leaders Awards. Dr Tedros himself decides on the awardees for the World Health Organization Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Awards.

“At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented convergence of inequity, conflict, food insecurity, the climate crisis and a pandemic, this award recognizes those who have made an outstanding contribution to protecting and promoting health around the world,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “These awardees embody lifelong dedication, relentless advocacy, a commitment to equity, and selfless service of humanity,” he added.

PM Narendra Modi congratulated ASHA workers. In his tweet he said, “Delighted that the entire team of ASHA workers have been conferred the @WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders’ Award. Congratulations to all ASHA workers. They are at the forefront of ensuring a healthy India. Their dedication and determination is admirable.”

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