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ASHA workers honoured by WHO:

GS Paper 1:

Syllabus: Issues related to Women.

 

Context:

ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers have received the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 in the backdrop of the on-going 75th World Health Assembly.

  • The other recipients include eight volunteer polio workers who were shot and killed by armed gunmen in Takhar and Kunduz provinces in Afghanistan in February this year.

 

Who are ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers?

ASHA workers are volunteers from within the community who are trained to provide information and aid people in accessing benefits of various healthcare schemes of the government.

  • They act as a bridge connecting marginalised communities with facilities such as primary health centres, sub-centres and district hospitals.
  • The role of these community health volunteers under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was first established in 2005.

 

Eligibility:

They must have good communication and leadership skills; should be literate with formal education up to Class 8, as per the programme guidelines.

 

ASHA workers in the country:

There are around 10.4 lakh ASHA workers across the country.

  • The largest workforces of ASHA workers are in states with high populations – Uttar Pradesh (1.63 lakh), Bihar (89,437), and Madhya Pradesh (77,531).
  • Goa is the only state with no such workers.

 

ASHA workers- Roles and Functions:

  1. Go door-to-door in their designated areas creating awareness about basic nutrition, hygiene practices, and the health services available.
  2. Focus on ensuring that women undergo ante-natal check-up, maintain nutrition during pregnancy, deliver at a healthcare facility, and provide post-birth training on breast-feeding and complementary nutrition of children.
  3. Counsel women about contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections.
  4. Ensure that children get immunised.
  5. Provide medicines daily to TB patients under directly observed treatment of the national programme.

 

How much are ASHA workers paid?

  • Since they are considered “volunteers”, governments are not obligated to pay them a salary. And, most states don’t.
  • Their income depends on incentives under various schemes that are provided when they, for example, ensure an institutional delivery or when they get a child immunised. All this adds up to only between Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 a month.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. ASHA workers – eligibility.
  2. Their roles and functions.
  3. About the National Rural Health Mission.

Mains Link:

Empowering the ASHA workers to truly integrate the multiple roles of community mobiliser, activist and provider of first contact care will ensure holistic developmental outcomes at the grassroot level. Discuss.

 

Q.1) Consider the following statements:

  1. The largest workforces of ASHA workers is in Uttar Pradesh.
  2. Governments are not obligated to pay ASHA workers any salary.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

 

    1. 1 only.
    2. 2 only.
    3. Both.
    4. None.

Sources: Indian Express.