Sounding Assam

We can travel anywhere to anywhere by train in India. Even to remote places we may have only dreamed of! Like Sripani village to Moridhal village in the Dhemaji district in the northeastern state of Assam. We should take this train one day. In the backdrop of Sripani, we will see the majestic mountain tops of the neighboring state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The rain waters flow all the way down to villages like Sripani in Assam often flooding them. It is in these villages that we are partnering with 750 ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activists) — who are the last mile in the government’s health service in India. There is roughly one ASHA worker for every 2 villages in Dhemaji district that has about 1315 villages.

In collaboration with the National Health Mission (NHM), AID partner BSFC arranged training for Dhemaji district’s 750 ASHA workers and 65 supervisors to check blood pressure (BP), sugar levels, temperature, and oxygen saturation.

With your support, kits that included a BP machine and stethoscope, oximeter, and thermal scanner were provided to all 750 ASHA workers so that they could use them in their villages.

India’s ASHA workers are treated as volunteers (aren’t given a minimum wage) and earn a nominal honorarium of about $50 / month to provide basic medications for common ailments. While ASHA workers generally are not equipped to measure BP and sugar levels, there have been some studies recently to show that this can be very useful for the villages. Since digital machines require batteries for which there is no government funding, we opted for traditional BP devices that require stethoscopes. The picture shows Dhemaji district’s ASHA worker measuring BP in a camp after training.

Make a difference


Those who are in need of health services that are not available near their villages or towns are referred to the Government District Hospital at Dhemaji. Yet to our knowledge, in the Dhemaji district, with a population of 750,000 in an area of 1250 square miles, there was no functioning ultrasound machine. When BSFC started working to strengthen the health infrastructure in the face of COVID, AID’s support enabled it to procure a good quality ultrasound machine (costing $26,000) for the Government District Hospital. The picture shows it in use and the video at the top of this page shows the long queue of people waiting their turn. The hospital estimates that ten lives are actually being saved (and thousands helped) every month, due to this machine. At 215 per 100,000 live births, Assam has the highest maternal mortality rate in India and BSFC is planning to conduct training on safe birth practices.

100 kilometers from the district hospital at Dhemaji is a new sub-divisional hospital coming up in Jonai in the same district. On their wishlist is an ultrasound machine. If it is able to get one, that will be the second ultrasound machine in Dhemaji district.

Make a difference

The ASHA worker pictured below passed away in the past year, at a young age.  We salute her courage and the difference she has made to the Dhemaji district.


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