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Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)
CountryIndia
MinistryMinistry of Health and Family Welfare
Launched2005
Status939,978 ASHA's (2018)

An accredited social health activist (ASHA) is a community health worker instituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as a part of India's National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).[1] The mission began in 2005; full implementation was targeted for 2012. Once fully implemented, there is to be "an ASHA in every village" in India.[2] In July 2013, the total number of ASHAs in India was reported to be 870,089.[3] In 2018 the number of ASHAs were 939,978. The ideal number of ASHAs is 1,022,265.[4]

Roles and responsibilities

ASHAs are local women trained to act as health educators and promoters in their communities. The Indian MoHFW describes them as:[5]

...health activist(s) in the community who will create awareness on health and its social determinants and mobilize the community towards local health planning and increased utilization and accountability of the existing health services.

Their tasks include motivating women to give birth in hospitals, bringing children to immunization clinics, encouraging family planning (e.g., surgical sterilization), treating basic illness and injury with first aid, keeping demographic records, and improving village sanitation.[6] ASHAs are also meant to serve as a key communication mechanism between the healthcare system and rural populations.[7]

She will act as a depot holder for essential provisions being made available to all habitations like Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORS), Iron Folic Acid Tablet (IFA), chloroquine, Disposable Delivery Kits (DDK), Oral Pills & Condoms.[8]

The tableau of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare highlighting - 'Aasha' during the Republic Day Parade, 2006
The tableau of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare highlighting - 'Aasha' during the Republic Day Parade, 2006

Selection

ASHAs must primarily be female residents of the village that they have been selected to serve, who are likely to remain in that village for the foreseeable future. Married, widowed or divorced women are preferred over women who have yet to marry since Indian cultural norms dictate that upon marriage a woman leaves her village and migrates to that of her husband. ASHAs preference for selection is they must have qualified up to the tenth grade, preferably be between the ages of 25 and 45, and are selected by and accountable to the gram panchayat (local government). If there is no suitable literate candidate, these criteria may be relaxed.[9]

Remuneration

Although ASHAs are considered volunteers, they receive outcome-based remuneration and financial compensation for training days. For example, if an ASHA facilitates an institutional delivery she receives 600 (US$8.40) and the mother receives 1,400 (US$20). ASHAs also receive 150 (US$2.10) for each child completing an immunization session and 150 (US$2.10) for each individual who undergoes family planning.[10] ASHAs are expected to attend a Wednesday meeting at the local primary health centre (PHC); beyond this requirement, the time ASHAs spend on their CHW tasks is relatively flexible.

Monitoring and Evaluation under National Rural Health Mission

A baseline survey is to be taken at the district level. It is for fixing decentralized monitoring goals and indicators. The community monitoring would be at the village level. The planning commission would be the eventual monitor of outcomes. External evaluation will be taken up at frequent intervals.

See also

References

  1. ^ ASHA, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), 2005, archived from the original on 22 April 2009
  2. ^ National Rural Health Mission 2005–2012: Mission Document (PDF), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2009
  3. ^ Update on the ASHA programme, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, July 2013, archived from the original on 10 September 2019, retrieved 29 March 2021
  4. ^ "National Health Mission: Update of ASHA programme" (PDF). Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. January 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  5. ^ National Institute of Health and Family Welfare. (2005) “Frequently Asked Questions on ASHA.” Government of India. Accessed April 23, 2007
  6. ^ Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). (2005c). ASHA.. Government of India. Accessed July 20, 2008, from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). (2005a). National Rural Health Mission: Mission Document. Government of India. Accessed July 1, 2008, from "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "About Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)". National Rural Health Mission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  9. ^ "About ASHA - Government of India". nhm.gov.in. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  10. ^ Reading Material for ASHA (PDF), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 2005, archived from the original (PDF) on 27 October 2007