Jayanta Dey / Reuters
Without it the nation would suffer heavy losses.
A shot of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth can help save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. When followed up with at least two more doses of the vaccine during the first year of life, the birth dose protects newborns from mother-to-child transmission of the liver-wasting disease, and also guards against infection during a period when the virus is most damaging to future health. Yet, many practitioners are unaware of or ignore this need.
ASHA stands for Accredited Social Health Activist. It also means hope. My first connect to this woman-driven community health initiative came as a message in my Facebook inbox. I recognised Neha, my ex-colleague from our 24X7 News years. She asked me to be part of a film they were making on a day in the life of an ASHA worker or Asha Didi, as they are popularly called.