After assisting the health department in publicising and promoting various health-related schemes, members of the Accredited Social Health Activist (Asha) are set to play another important role — spreading awareness regarding domestic violence and other crimes against women among rural people.
Besides spreading awareness, the state government is providing training to Asha workers under the National Health Mission about to counsel the victims of domestic violence and others crimes about legal options and their rights.
As many as 1,130 Asha workers, along with 55 Asha facilitators, in Patiala district are taking the training. The training programme at three blocks — Shutrana, Bhadson and Dhudhal Sadha — was completed on January 2, whereas at Kauni, Harpal, Kalo Majra blocks, it would be completed in February.
During the training programme, the Asha members are also getting information about some of the rituals, which are still prevalent in the rural areas and are against the women’s rights.
Meanwhile, the Asha workers are imparted knowledge about taking precautionary steps at the time of medical examination in a case of rape.
Amarjeet Singh, a master trainer, said earlier, the Asha workers were only known for health-related activities, but now they would help prevent crimes against women by spreading awareness about various laws and rights of the women, especially in rural areas.
He said many cases of crime against women were not reported in villages due to the lack of awareness and this awareness campaign would help protect women from such oppression.
The Asha workers act as a bridge between Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery (ANM) and villages. These workers also help prepare and implement health plans for various villages, along with Anganwadi Worker (AWW) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM), besides assisting self-help groups.