Fula Devi is a 40-year-old woman who is one of the millions of ASHA workers ensuring outreach to the last mile population in India. She has been working as ASHA Didi (an affectionate and respectful term used to address a female ASHA workers in the villages) since 2007 in Chhotka Baniya village (Saran district). Fula has also been actively involved in the Kala Azar (VL) programme since 2020.
CARE India, a healthcare NGO focusing on women’s health programmes, has been doing special capacity building of high endemic block ASHAs. The capacity building training gave Fula the opportunity to learn about the minimum fever days, how to recognise the symptoms of VL patients, counselling the patients, and taking them to a facility for diagnosis and treatment.
In 2020, Chhotka Baniya village experienced a VL outbreak, during which she worked tirelessly to help contain it. Her identification of positive cases was significant, and she referred 23 suspected cases and 2- PKDL, 4- VL positive cases through patient networks utilising the snowballing method. She has also referred one VL positive patient through House-to-House case search.
About the Programme: ASHA refers to the "Accredited Social Health Activist," a community health worker in India. ASHA workers are trained to serve as an interface between the community and the public healthcare system. They are responsible for creating health awareness, providing basic healthcare services, and facilitating access to healthcare facilities in their respective communities. Fula Devi is one of the people that received the training from CARE India, a women’s health NGO, which is already proving invaluable to her community.