ASHA and Anganwadi workers play an extremely important role in India’s villages. Its time they are recognized as such.
While frontline workers have been first in line to receive vaccines globally, community health workers in India continue their struggle for entirely different demands. Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) employed by the Indian government as volunteers have been protesting across Indian states for the last few months. While the protests have emerged due to many workers not receiving their regular stipends since the COVID-19 pandemic began, their collective action draws attention to how the rural healthcare system is built upon the exploitation of these underpaid, undertrained and overworked rural health volunteers who are denied basic rights as workers.