Newslaundry picked up yet another award, this time in the Press Institute of India and International Committee of the Red Cross annual awards announced today.
Journalist Menaka Rao won the third prize in the Best Article on a Humanitarian Subject category for her piece ‘We will die doing our duty’: How ASHAs are battling coronavirus without safety gear or training, published in Newslaundry on April 7.
The second prize was jointly won by Jigyasa Mishra for a story in People's Archive of Rural India and Varsha Torgalakar for her story in the Swaddle. Maitri Porecha won the first prize for her report on India's war against tuberculosis in Business Line.
This is the fourteenth edition of the PII-ICRC Annual Awards.
After winning the award, Menaka told Newslaundry why she had chosen to report on the plight of the ASHAs: "In the beginning of the pandemic, I would read stories about door-to-door surveillance of migrants. But there were very few articles on the women who did these surveys. I already knew how ASHA workers functioned in a village and how important they were for the public health system. They knew everyone in the village, and knew how to convince them. But they were not used to working under such precarious conditions."
So, Menaka said, she wanted to know how they were doing.
"I found out that they were not only not given enough protective gear, they were not trained or had any credible information about Covid," she said. "Yet, they continued their work out of obligation to the community they work with."
After her story was published in Newslaundry, Menaka said, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued orders for an additional incentive of Rs 2,000 to be given to ASHAs during the Covid pandemic up to June.
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