Narasamma is an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) worker who has served her village Doddabelavangala for the past 10 years in rural Bengaluru. She is the one-stop call for the community in requirement of medical assistance or advice.

The COVID crisis could not dampen Narasamma’s spirits from carrying out her responsibility. With all necessary precautions, she reached out to the community in her area, tending to many pregnant women in her neighbourhood. She said she had to be extra careful with pregnant women while providing them additional guidance on keeping themselves safe from COVID-19. As an ASHA worker, she did home visits, provided counselling and support and often accompanied them to the Primary Health Centres (PHCs). For the adolescent girls, she was known as the ‘ASHA aunty’ – a guide for girls in their crucial years on sexual, reproductive health and menstrual hygiene.

“Along with my line department, Save the Children had also supported me with the right information to respond to the crisis and help my community. I did all to keep my community safe from COVID-19 by providing the right information at the right time, promoting COVID Appropriate Behaviour, and talking about the importance of the vaccine,” Narasamma said.

“People look at me with hope, for information and guidance. Every month, I reach out to 1,035 people from 255 households. On average, I provide care to 10 pregnant women a month. I will continue to serve my community, especially now, when they need me the most,” she added.

When the COVID vaccines were rolled out, she ensured community members got their vaccine shots. She proudly declared that her area had ‘zero’ cases of COVID. In her mission, she got good support from the Anganwadi Workers in her area.

Narasamma was proud to be a part of Karnataka’s COVID-19 response team. Some of the houses are located in interior villages, and it wasn’t easy to reach those families during the lockdown. But Narasamma wasn’t the one to give up. She got in touch with them on the phone with information and advice to keep them safe. She spoke to the community about identification of symptoms, timely testing, medication, and treatment. She conducted a COVID survey in her village and even organised a COVID testing camp.

The pandemic has affected us all, but the dedication and commitment of frontline workers like Narasamma saved precious lives and inspired us all.

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