Matilda Kullu, a woman from Sundargarh district, who is a Covid Warrior and one among the strong women personalities in the country, has featured in the Forbes India W-Power 2021 list.
She got third place behind Aparna Purohit, Head of Originals, Amazon Prime Video India and Arundahati Bhattacharya, Chairperson and CEO, Salesforces India. Congratulations have poured to Matilda from different quarters, for her remarkable feat.
Kullu(45) has been working as an Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)in Gargadbahal village in Baragaon of Sundargarh district for the last 15 years. She has been instrumental in bringing the healthcare system closer to the people.
When Kullu had joined as an ASHA, the villagers neither visited a doctor nor a hospital if they fell sick—they rather performed black magic to treat themselves.
It took years for Kullu to educate the villagers to stop this and take appropriate medical routes.
That’s not all, she even had to bear the brunt of casteism and untouchability during door-to-door visits since Kullu belongs to a Scheduled Tribe. She is also deputy general secretary of Nikhil Odisha Asha Karmi Sangha.
"It was really bad some years ago, things are much better now. People have become more understanding and less superstitious. The old generation still practices untouchability but that doesn’t bother me anymore,” said Kullu.
She single-handedly took care of around 964 people in the village at a meager remuneration of Rs 4,500 per month.
Apart from home visits, providing medicines, and helping expecting mothers with deliveries, Kullu’s other regular tasks include antenatal/postnatal check-ups, immunisation, sanitisation, promoting hygiene, administering polio and other vaccines, conducting surveys, and so on.
Significantly, Forbes India had asked All India Asha Federation General Secretary B Bijaylaxmi to give a name of an ASHA worker who is inspiration for other women. B Bijayalaxmi had recommended the name and details of work of Kullu to Forbes India.