ASHA: Hope, Love and Service

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30 year old Khashti Devi, has been working as ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) for the past 8 years in village Sama, Kapkot, Bageshwar.

In the past eight years the young lady has helped over two hundred and fifty families spread over a radius of 6km, in bringing close to two hundred healthy babies into the world.

For Khasthi Devi, a mother of three children aged between 5-11 years lives with her ageing in-laws who have been her pillar of strength and encouragement. Her day starts early as she dons her pink coat and makes her way to Sama village visiting expectant mothers. On regular days she returns home by 5:00 p.m., but closer to delivery date there is no knowing when the day will come to an end.

I play many roles. To some I am an older sister, to the elders of the village I am their daughter-in-law and for the young ones, I am their aunt and I try to fulfil these roles to the best of my capability,” she tells us over the phone.

Khasthi job as an ASHA involves mother-child care, preparing timely reports, vaccination and hygiene tips to families that fall under her care.

With the Bageshwar District Hospital located 51 kms from Sama, and the closest hospital at Kapkot 30 kms away, there have been instances when Khasthi has single-handedly delivered over half a dozen children during her tenure.

It wasn’t always easy for me. I have learnt through every delivery that I have handled and have tried to make a positive difference in the larger family that has welcomed me with open arms.

Khasthi Devi is not a one-off-ASHA. She epitomises thousands of other Community Health Workers spread across the length and breadth of our hill-state doing their bit by making life easy for our women folk, in villages habited by the old, infirm and the young.

Speaking for her fellow ASHA’s Khasthi says, “When I see a healthy new born baby and the smiling mother and faces of relieved elderly folks, it is all worth it. To have won the unconditional love and trust of the village folk, is our earnest earning.”