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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 8-13

Field level experiences in delivering COVID-19-related services by accredited social health activists in a block of Purba Bardhaman District, West Bengal: A qualitative study

Department of Community Medicine, Burdwan Medical College, Bardhaman, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Niladri Banerjee
Indrakanan, Sripalli, Burdwan, Purba Bardhaman - 713 103, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_219_21

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Background: Health-care workers at all levels are putting their best efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In resource-poor country like India, the community health workers are given primary responsibility for prevention and control measures at the village level. Learning from their experiences and addressing constraints will ensure improved service delivery in the face of further waves of pandemic. Aim: The aim of the study is to explore the field level experiences of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), working in Bhatar block of Purba Bardhaman district, West Bengal, while delivering COVID-19 response services and to elicit the nature of constraints faced by them. Materials and Methods: This was a qualitative study with phenomenological approach conducted among ASHA workers from December 2020 to January 2021. Convenient sampling was done to select 8 participants for data collection by focused group discussion (FGD) using FGD guide. A total of four FGDs with 32 participants were conducted. Data were analyzed using thematic framework approach to identify codes and themes. Results: The experiences are presented under five broad themes and in subthemes. ASHAs were engaged in extensive work amidst various challenges, though they received ample support and cooperation from society and general administration. ASHAs faced issues with inadequate supply of protective equipment and were in need for refresher trainings. Events of social stigma and ostracizations had also surfaced. Limited financial incentives, increased susceptibility to COVID-19, and detachment from family were the main source of stress among ASHAs. Conclusion: The issues identified in this study can be addressed to further utilize ASHAs in delivering services in pandemic context.

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