Asha Workers Urge Minister to Abandon App-Based Survey Citing Rural Network Challenges

Asha workers, represented by the Karnataka Rajya Samyukta Asha Karyakartheyara Sangha in Dakshina Kannada, have appealed to Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, responsible for health and family welfare, to discontinue the ongoing ‘Health and Nutrition Survey’ (HNS) conducted through a mobile app. According to the workers, network connectivity issues pose a significant hurdle, causing delays of up to several minutes per household. Furthermore, many Asha workers are unfamiliar with mobile phones, making data uploading a challenging task for them. Adding to the complexity, Asha workers do not receive a separate allowance to purchase internet data packs.

The survey aims to collect data on children and pregnant women on leprosy, larvae, and immunization, in addition to the newly added Health and Nutrition Survey (HNS). Moreover, they are also assigned the additional responsibility of facilitating eSanjeevani teleconsultations between patients and doctors.

According to Ms. Shobha, the district president of the association, the survey should be a collaborative effort between Asha workers, Anganwadi workers, and primary and community health center officers. However, due to the lack of participation from Anganwadi workers, the burden on Asha workers has significantly increased.

In a memorandum presented to the minister, Asha workers have put forth their demands, including a monthly honorarium of Rs 15,000 and alternative arrangements for those unable to use the app to upload details for the Health and Nutrition Survey (HNS). They have also highlighted that the incentive from the Centre, disbursed through the RCH portal, has been pending for the past three years, urging its release. Additionally, Asha workers have requested an increase in retirement benefits from Rs 20,000 to Rs 3 lakh.

The minister has assured that the concerns raised by Asha workers will be thoroughly examined. He acknowledges the significance of the HNS for the department, which is expected to conclude by the end of June. The minister assures that the issues raised will be addressed accordingly.

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