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Role of ASHA

Role of ASHA
Highlights

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) under the banner of All India United Trade Union Centre have been on a warpath in the country, demanding that their long-pending demands be met by the Central government.

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) under the banner of All India United Trade Union Centre have been on a warpath in the country, demanding that their long-pending demands be met by the Central government. They want the government fix a reasonable pay with hike in honorarium, provide cell phones with SIM cards and currency, uniforms, medical kits, incentives and other social security benefits considering the dedicated services in the healthcare, particularly in rural areas. They want a minimum pay of Rs 15,000 per month.

The Government of India launched National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in April 2005 to address the health needs of rural population, especially the vulnerable section of the society. The sub-centre which is the peripheral level of contact with the community under the public health infrastructure caters to a large population of 5000. The Auxilliary Nurse Midwives (ANM) is overworked, which impacts upon outreach services in rural areas. To complement the work of ANM, ASHA is selected through a selection process to fill the gaps in the health care delivery system.

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. ASHAs must have Class 8 education or higher, 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, a semi-literate woman with a formal education lower than eighth standard, may be selected.

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 Rs 600 and the mother receives Rs 1,400. ASHAs also receive Rs 150 for each child completing an immunization session and Rs 150 for each individual who undergoes family planning.

The ASHA is appointed to take steps to create awareness and provide information to the community on health. ASHA will mobilize the community and facilitate them in accessing health and its related services available at the Anganwadi/Sub-center/primary health centers. ASHA will also provide primary medical care for minor ailments such as diarrhoea, fever, and first aid for minor injuries, work as provider of DOTS under RNTCP. She will also act as depot holder for essential provisions which will be made available to every habitation.

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