On 3 March 2023, winners of Grassroots Science Advice Promotion Awards 2022, Dr. Mohua Chakraborty Choudhury and Dr Pragya Chaube, organized a workshop titled "Workshop for ASHAs on 3Ds: Birth Defects, Development Delays, and Disabilities and Inclusion of grassroots data in policy design". ASHAs are Accredited Social Health Activists.
The workshop was funded by INGSA-Asia’s Grassroots Awards seed grant with the mentorship of our Steering Committee Member, Dr. Kavita Shah. It was conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Public Health, Bengaluru, and the Centre for Training, Research, and Innovation in Tribal Health project. The workshop was organized in the remote, rural areas of Karnataka at Gumballi Public Health Centre. The workshop participants, were community health workers who facilitate doorstep care to pregnant women and newborn babies in rural India. They are also crucial cogs in the public health machinery to monitor the health and growth of children in these rural areas.
Focusing on the theme of the workshop, the contribution of ASHAs, their role, and the importance of inclusion of their grassroots experience in public health policymaking was emphasized. Through a series of interactive sessions and role-playing activity, ASHAs were trained in communicating local experiences related to birth defect, developmental delays and disabilities to appropriate government authorities and were made aware of the information-flow in the public health system which eventually leads to policy making. The barriers ASHAs face in communicating in this information-flow was also discussed and addressed.