Frontline health workers forced to work on contract face apathy at the hands of state, violence by citizens

Since the Centre imposed lockdown came into effect on midnight of 23 March 2020 there have been at least 16 reported cases of violence against Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), Anganwadi and Mid-Day Meal workers across 8 states in India.

ASHA and Anganwadi workers are at the forefront of India’s fight against outbreak of COVID-19, however they remain one of the most vulnerable workers severely overworked and underpaid. Regularisation of services and fixed monthly wages along with health insurance and other social security benefits have remained long standing demands of these workers who are employed by the state as ‘honorarium workers’.

As India struggles to contain the spread of the virus is heavily dependent on the services of these workers still they have not been provided personal protective equipment or any training to deal with the new and unprecedented challenges they face in dispensing their duty.

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