As the battle against the COVID-19 continues, the anganwadi workers in Punjab are not just turning out an essential link between the public and the government but are also fearlessly shouldering the responsibility with the frontline warriors.
Manpreet Kaur, a worker from Patti Dhaliwal Sudhar village in the Ludhiana district, told The Hindu over phone that that she along with other helpers had been for several days now distributing home made masks by visiting houses across the village. “Those who can’t afford to purchase or make masks are on our priority list. These masks are stitched by many ladies in the village. I myself stitch them and distribute,” she said.
Undeterred by the threat of catching the deadly virus, Mrs. Kaur belives that this is not the time to run away from one’s duty. “In fact in such a situation I feel even more obligated to work towards society. I don’t feel threatened instead I feel lucky as I believe that “Guru Maharaj” has chosen me to serve his people. Since the COVID-19 outbreak I have been going door to door in the village for screening to identify patients with the Health department. I had been collecting details about the travel history of people. I tell people to stay at home unless it’s very urgent,” she said.
“Doctors, police, nurses — all are working without fear to stem the pandemic and so am I,” she said.
An Anganwadi is a type of child and mother care centre, part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme Basic health-care activities including contraceptive counselling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation and pre-school activities. In Punjab, there are 27,314 centres with 26,632 workers and around 23,524 helpers, according to government data.
“I have been stitching masks and distributing them to vegetable vendors, migrant labourers in my village.. Earlier this month, I had delivered masks by going door to door in many houses. Now there is more awareness among people so they have started making or purchasing masks. Many people though still visit my house to collect them,” said
“Since the lockdown I have been providing ration to the children and nutritional food right at the doorstep of pregnant women as they can’t come out,” said Shamsher Kaur of village Kamaali district Fathegarh Sahib.
“I am also informing the people about the ways to keep the virus at bay by telling about regularly washing hands and covering mouth as well as nose while sneezing and coughing. Also many of us are distributing sanitary napkins to promote menstrual hygiene,” she said.
Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary said while people are afraid of virus, the anganwadi workers are emerging as the frontline fighters in the war which is appreciable.