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'An Anganwadi Worker Died of COVID-19'

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Q: What are your COVID-19 related tasks?

Anganwadi Worker (AWW): Mainly, I have to collect the Aadhar card details of the beneficiaries and pass these on so that they can receive the Take Home Ration (THR) money in their bank accounts. [As per an order by the Bihar Government, cash is directly being deposited into the bank accounts of pregnant and lactating mothers and children under the age of 3, in lieu of the THR]

Also, if someone comes from outside in my area, I have to inform the authorities on WhatsApp.

Q: Are you encountering any challenges?

AWW: There are only announcements of benefits; they have not reached people yet. Monetary help has not reached.

One AWW died on 24th March because of not getting proper diagnosis or treatment. Private hospitals were closed and there were no facilities in the government hospitals. The authorities also did not listen to us.

Sevikas are complaining because ASHA workers have life insurance of Rs 50 lakh (USD 5 million) but they don’t have any such benefit.

Q: Have you observed any shortages?

AWW: We do not have masks or sanitisers to go out, and hence we are collecting information via the phone.

There is a shortage of ration. The prices of essential food items have increased. For instance, 1 kg of flour that was earlier available for Rs 25 is now being sold at Rs 35.

There have been announcements for the distribution of ration, but it has not happened.

This interview was conducted with an Anganwadi Worker and Block-level Union Secretary in Purnea, Bihar on 31 March 2020 in Hindi, and has been translated.

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