Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) working in Madhya Pradesh villages are facing a unique predicament while campaigning for family planning under the National Health Mission.
The condoms distributed by the activists as a part of the campaign is called ‘ASHA Nirodh’ and the villagers often shorten it to ASHA, causing much embarrassment to the workers who too are called by the same name.
The ASHAs are now planning to file a petition in court requesting for a name change of the condoms, which are being distributed directly to the villagers and through facility centres.
Amulya Nidhi, a health activist of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, said the name of the condom is being used to hurl vulgar taunts at ASHAs who are engaged in its distribution.
‘People making jokes’
“We have requested the State government to change the name of the condom. We have written a letter to the State Director of National Rural Health Mission requesting him to change the name of ASHA Nirodh as people have started making jokes about the name,” A.T. Padmanabhan, state president of ASHA-USHA-ASHA Sahyogini Ekta Union, M.P., said over the telephone.
“We have given a deadline to the State government to change the name; our last resort would be to approach court,” he added.
The ASHA’s job under the National Health Mission involves creating awareness about safe sex and family planning. They dispense free contraceptives such as condoms, regular and emergency pills, to villagers as a part of the campaign.
The activists have raised the name issue with several officials several times since the condom’s name was changed from Deluxe Nirodh to ‘ASHA Nirodh’ in 2016 by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry.
Rekha Parihar, a worker based in Badarwas block in Shivpuri district, said: “It will be good if the name of the condom is changed to ‘Deluxe’ again.”
State Health Mission director S. Vishwanathan was unavailable for comments.
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