BHOPAL: Kavita Sikarwar (name changed), an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) health worker, working in Bhind district, is getting unsolicited calls from unknown numbers. It started after she was posted at a call centre for vaccination drive, she said.
Kavita is not the only one to get such calls at odd times. There are several such ASHA workers and co-workers, who receive phone calls and messages from unknown people. This is the reason that most ASHA workers and co-workers are now hesitant in performing duty on vaccination call centers.
“Working at vaccination call centres is causing mental harassment. Several people we talk to misbehave and sometimes even abuse us. Mischievous people start calling us at odd hours. We also get vulgar messages,” said Laxmi Kaurav, an ASHA worker and state convener of ASHA Worker Association.
ASHA workers from across the state have been given additional duty of calling people who haven’t been vaccinated yet or those who have received their first dose but haven’t taken the second one.
The ASHA workers have been instructed to reach call centre set up by district administration and call and motivate people for vaccination dose. They are provided phone numbers from district administration.
“We have to call people from 9AM to 5 PM on numbers provided by administration. We have to reach call centre at 9 am,” said Neera (name changed) from Sagar.
State convener of ASHA workers, Laxmi said that they had complained with the district authorities but in response they asked us to block such numbers.
Besides mental harassment it has financial implications as well. Most ASHA workers get their mobile recharge with small amounts like Rs 50 etc to keep their account active and to receive the calls. “We do not get any amount to charge our phones so we have to get out phones recharged with unlimited calling packs,” added Laxmi.
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