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ASHA – Generating Hopes for the Rural India

While reading todays paper I had a glimpse of a Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s advertisement about ASHA being a success in India. It was before three months that I had met few ASHA bahu and heard their apathy and had written about them (https://politicalavenger.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/all-india-asha-bahu-association-threatens-to-boycott-pulse-polio-program-on-february-24/)

ASHA (accredited social health activists)

Nevertheless the contribution of ASHA( Accredited Social Health Activist) has been immense and more the reason for me to write few things about them. ASHAs are community health workers instituted by the Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW) as a part of  National Rural Health Mission(NHRM). The Mission began in 2005. The ASHA is a voluntary health worker who acts as a link between the community and health care facilities. This is a very crucial role as many in the community neither have knowledge nor the confidence to be able to get the best out of the facilities provided for them by the government.

Going through the advt. I came to know about the story of one of the many unsung heroes of our Health-care system,Debaki Pradhan, who is from my state Odisha. Debaki Pradhan has been working as an ASHA in a remote village in Raigham Gram Panchayat of Odisha under the NRHM. One of Debaki’s key mandates is to promote safe childbirth and infant health care. In the past 6 years, she has helped 36 women deliver their children through access to the public health facilities.

In April 2011, Debaki Pradhan accompanied Menaka to Kosala PHC. In due course Menaka delivered a set of twins. Unfortunately, one of the babies was severely underweight right from birth. As an ASHA, Debaki accompanied the mother home and decided to keep an eye on the baby with low birth weight.

During one of her visits to see the mother and infant, she observed that despite all efforts, the baby with low birth weight was just not able to suckle the mother’s milk properly and as a result, was getting malnourished. She swung into action. She sent the mother and the baby to the nearby Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre(NRC) at Angul Hospital. With Specialized care, the condition of the low birth weight baby improved and she was able to have her mother’s milk. In due course she gained strength and is growing up as a normal happy healthy baby.

Menaka’s baby was lucky and due to the timely observation and intervention of Debaki, the local ASHA, she survived. There are many more ASHAs like Debaki Pradhan who perform their duties and save the lives of pregnant mothers and newborns. They are the unsung Heroes of our health system.

At a national level, there are a total of 8.8 lakhs ASHAs supported by the NRHM. There is thus on ASHA for every 1000 rural inhabitants in almost every part of the country. ASHA is selected by the Gram Sabha and is entitled for a performance based compensation package.

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UNION RAILWAY BUDGET 2013-2014

Union Budget 2013 – 2014

Stop playing with Taxpayers money

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Back in 2007, the nomination of Pratibha Devisingh patil as presidential candidate by UPA had come to me as a surprise. Unlike previous presidents, I hardly had heard her name, leave apart her contribution towards any major field of national interest.

With such comparatively less Personal Creditibility she Succeded the Missile man of India(kalam) and defeted a veteran(Bhairon singh shekhawat)to become the president of India only because of the fact that UPA which had a majority that time neither wanted Kalam for a second term nor they could find any high profile deserving candidate among them. And Ofcourse they couldn’t have voted for their opposition’s candidate.

Next month as she completes her 5 year term I look back only to find her name being highlighted for all wrong reasons. Her Retirement home on military land reserved for war widows to Lavisious and Quantitave Foreign trips with her large family members have all been a joke to the taxpayers hard earned money.

RTI records show President’s travel expenses to be Rs 205 Crores. Out of this Air India spent Rs 169cr on her visit and over Rs 36Cr were spent on her accomodation and ‘miscellaneous’ expenses. She has been accompanied by at least Three to as many as 11 family members in 14 domestic trips and four foreign trips in space of a year. And till now President patil has undertaken 12 foreign trips, covering 22 countries across 4 continents spending 79 days abroad. Her present trip to Seychelles and South Africa is her 13th.(Above image shows president with her grand daughters in south africa)

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PREZ Race and the Bengal factor

As the office of the President of India is preparing to bid adieu to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the political race for the new president has started.  Along with vice president Hamid Ansari, several other prominent names  including Former president APJ Abdul kalam and veteran congress leader and present Finance Minister of India Pranab  Mukharjee are  being popped up by different parties. Recently Former Lok sabha speaker P A Sangma jumped into the fray raising the issue of president from a tribal community.

The name of Former president Abdul kalam whose second term was opposed by majority UPA in july 2007, was proposed this year by Samajwadi party chief Mulayam singh yadav. While no one can question on the integrity of Dr. Kalam, his support from other major parties like TMC and DMK are missing.

P A Sangma has already lost his creditability by suggesting his own name for the post. His argument of a Tribal President this year is improper. The post of the president is not a child’s play and cannot  be reserved for a certain class. NCP leaders are also against the call by sangma.

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