Asha’s Response to COVID-19: Providing Care to Slum Communities in India
Slum populations, the most vulnerable to COVID-19, are emerging as hotspots for transmission of the virus. Comprehensive strategies for addressing this challenge exist, but reports of effective models for implementing them have been lacking. Asha, a 33-year old health and community development organization in Delhi, India, has responded to the pandemic by activating well-developed networks in the community to enact a range of interventions, with encouraging results. The success of Asha in controlling COVID-19 in the slums reflects the realization of the values Asha promotes in the community: dignity, empowerment, justice, non-violence, compassion, gratitude, generosity, optimism, joy, and simplicity. Although developed by a team of Christians and those of other faiths on Asha’s staff, these values enjoy broad-based support within a pluralistic, Hindu-influenced society.
Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, slums, values, community, health
Corburn J, Vlahov D, Mberu B, Riley L, Waleska T, Cajaffa T et al. Slum health: arresting COVID-19 and improving well-being in urban informal settlements. J Urban Health. 2020 Apr;97:348-57. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-020-00438-6
World Health Organization. COVID-19 strategy update [Internet]. 2020 Apr. Available from https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/covid-strategy-update-14 april2020.pdf?sfvrsn=29da3ba0_19
The World Bank. COVID-19 turns spotlight on slums [Internet]. 2020 Jun. Available from: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2020/06/10/covid-19-turns-spotlight-on-slums
The World Bank. COVID-19 and slums WBG-LAC. A multisectoral approach [Internet]. 2020 Apr. Available from: https://www.thegpsc.org/sites/gpsc/files/covid-19_and_slums.pdf
Peretz PJ, Islam N, Matiz LA. Community health workers and Covid-19 — addressing social determinants of health in times of crisis and beyond. New Eng J Med. 2020 Sep. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp2022641
Sharma A. India cases cross 7 million as experts warn of complacency [Internet]. 2020 Oct. Available from: https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-pandemics-india-archive-3472ed5d494fb004aa384d16e2b8b4cf
Asha. Home page [Internet] Available from: https://asha-india.org
Banshkar A, Vinzuda A. Reaching out to slum dwellers to address starvation during the 2020 pandemic in India. Social Work with Groups. 2020 Sep. https://doi.org/10.1080/01609513.2020.1819046
Golechha M. COVID-19 containment in Asia’s largest urban slum Dharavi-Mumbia, India: lessons for policymakers globally. J Urban Health. 2020 Aug. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-020-00474-2
Patel A. Preventing COVID-19 amid public health and urban planning failures in slums of Indian cities. Policy Study Org. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.351
Christian Journal for Global Health applies the Creative Commons Attribution License to all articles that we publish. Under this license, authors retain ownership of copyright for their articles or they can transfer copyright to their institution, but authors allow anyone without permission to copy, distribute, transmit, and/or adapt articles, even for commercial purposes so long as the original authors and Christian Journal for Global Health are appropriately cited.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.