NEW: ‘Only ASHA Workers have Received Pandemic Incentives, Not Anganwadi Workers’

Updated: May 18

Q. Have regular activities started inside the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) since it reopened? What instructions have been given regarding maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour?


Anganwadi Worker (AWW): Yes, since the Anganwadi centres have started functioning normally, activities like godbharai and annaprashan [community-level events] are being organised twice a month as per the schedule. As per departmental instructions, special attention is being paid to cleanliness while preparing meals, and masks are being used regularly at the centre.


Q. What is the malnutrition status in your locality? Is hot cooked food being served to children?


AWW: Yes, hot cooked food is being provided to the children of 3 to 6 years enrolled/registered at the Anganwadi Centre from 3 March 2022. Regarding malnutrition status, all children are in the normal category.


Q. Looking back at the past two years, what do you think you could have done better if you didn’t have additional COVID-19 related responsibilities?


AWW: For the past two years our main task was the distribution of nutritious food from door to door, and updating the beneficiaries and supervisors regarding welfare schemes run through Anganwadi centres via phone. But due to COVID-19, we used to go to the field only in utmost need. Because of this, I feel that we have not been able to meet women to give them health-related advice and enrol them in welfare schemes in an efficient way.


Q. Are there any challenges in your work that you are currently facing? According to you, what is the solution for them?


AWW: I am facing difficulties with data entry on the Poshan tracker app [which tracks key nutrition parameters among children, girls, and pregnant and lactating women]. A lot of beneficiary details need to be filled manually. Also, we need to fill in an OTP at the time of submission, and for this we need to call the beneficiary or their parents. But many times they do not pick up the phone, or we have to go to the beneficiary's house or call them to the centre to complete the entry.


Earlier, data entry was easier when we were working on the CommCare app*, but there are many problems with the Poshan tracker. Due to these problems, we are maintaining offline data in the register.


Q. According to you, during the COVID-19 pandemic, were there things which the government should have provided but did not?


AWW: Incentives should have been provided to AWWs from the relevant department, but only ASHA workers have received such benefits.


Q. Have you received any financial incentives in the past two years?


AWW: No, we did not receive any financial incentive from the department during the pandemic.


This interview was conducted with an Anganwadi Worker in Himachal Pradesh in Hindi on 26 April 2022, and has been translated.


Also Read: In a Glance: Research Findings from Study of Frontline Workers in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan

Source: DNA India


* The ICDS-CAS (Integrated Child and Development Services - Common Application System) program was launched in 2016 to improve service delivery of nutrition programs. It had four key features. First, digitisation and automation of service registers that Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) are expected to maintain, through smartphone applications. Second, a scheduler that helped AWWs prioritise home visits. Third, counseling videos which could be used as a job aid. Finally, as monitoring device, as Lady Supervisors (LSs) had access to real-time data.

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