Silently crossing hurdles to deliver on healthcare promise

Grassroots healthcare workers, including Auxiliary Nursing Midwives, wading through a stream to deliver medical services in remote areas.   | Photo Credit: Arrangement

Trudging through treacherous terrains, walking in dense forests and keeping an eye out for wild boars or snakes, wading across a stream or rivulet... This may sound like an adventurous weekend plan to thrill-seeking urbanites, but it is, in fact, the daily experience of hundreds of Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs) in Telangana. These grassroot-level healthcare workers deliver crucial medical services to people in remote corners of the State.

Officials of the Health department say they depend on ANMs, apart from Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), for the implementation of any major or even minor public health project of the State government. There are around 6,000 ANMs belonging to different categories in the State. That includes 4,200 women employed as ‘Second ANMs’.

Daily travails

Irrespective of their age, these women travel long distances, visiting far-flung villages, remote habitations in forests or up hilly terrains to deliver medical services, the list of which runs quite long. Of late, one of the services at the top of their agenda has been vaccinating the population against COVID-19.

President of Second ANMs Association, Ch. Anuradha says they conduct Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) survey, deliver mother and child healthcare services, are part of the programmes to control tuberculosis, leprosy and AIDS, apart from generating awareness on temporary and permanent contraceptive methods.

“We conducted COVID tests and thermal screening of people during the two COVID waves. We have performed duties of lab technicians and pharmacists too,” Ms Anuradha explains.

Now, with the State government setting a deadline of December-end to vaccinate the 2.77 crore population, pressure on the ANMs is consistently mounting. So, they are going the extra mile to give the jab to the eligible beneficiaries.

Social media has been flooded with the photographs of ANMs vaccinating people working in the fields, travelling on bullock carts and even those washing clothes by a water body.

Dawn to dusk

“We visit a target village and stay put from early morning till evening hours. That makes it possible for us to get hold of people as they step out for work or while they are on their way home at dusk. All ANMs are women. We face several problems when we have to be at one place for several hours. It is especially difficult to deal with drunk men,” adds Ms. Anuradha.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 11:26:33 AM |

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