Kathmandu, December 5 The Department of Health Service, Teku, today honoured five female community health volunteers of Lalitpur district on the occasion of the 13th National Female Community Health Volunteers Day. Female community health volunteer Usha Maharjan of Chapagaun Health Post, Sabitri Khadka of Lele Health Post, Sannani Thapa of Tikathali Health Post, Renu Maharjan of Bade Gaun Health Post and Shashi Shah Thakuri of Sunakothi Health Post were rewarded a purse of Rs 6,000 each. Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Gagan Thapa commended the effort and contribution of the female community health volunteers to the health sector in different rural and urban areas of the country. They have contributed to raise health awareness among women, children and people deprived of health services, he said. Thapa said, “The Health Ministry alone cannot improve the health sector, so support from different levels and departments is crucial. The ministry will try to solve the demands, problems and complaints of all health workers to maintain balance in internal matters of the health sector.” He added that all female community health volunteers will be honoured by the ministry for their contribution and they will be rewarded with due respect. As per the data at the Department of Health Service, as many as 51,470 female community health volunteers have been contributing to the fields of maternity health, health of children and newborns, family planning, vaccination, nutrition and different kinds of transferable diseases. “Earlier when I joined the hospital, women were not allowed to work outside their homes and many criticised me for taking the job. But I continued to give my service to the public,” said Sannani Thapa, a female community health volunteer, who has been in the health sector for the past 55 years. “I have been engaged in this field since 1961 and I was only 18 years old when I first joined,” she added. Though the Ministry of Health has been providing various facilities to health volunteers, they are not paid remunerations accordingly. The ministry also provides Rs 10,000 from the Mother Health Committee to female community health volunteers after retirement.