• Anganwadi is a type of rural mother and child care centre in India.
• They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.
• A typical Anganwadi centre provides basic health care in Indian villages.
• It is a part of the Indian public health care system. Basic health care activities include contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities.
• The centres may be used as depots for oral rehydration salts, basic medicines and contraceptives.

Anganwadi Worker responsibilities:

• The Ministry of Women and Child Development has laid down guidelines for the responsibilities of Anganwadi workers (AWW).
• These include:

1. Showing community support and active participation in executing this programme.
2. To conduct regular quick surveys of all families.
3. Organize pre-school activities.
4. Provide health and nutrition education to families especially pregnant women on how to breastfeed, etc.
5. Motivating families to adopt family planning.
6. Educating parents about child growth and development.
7. Assist in the implementation and execution of Kishori Shakti Yojana (KSY) to educate teenage girls and parents by organizing social awareness programmes etc.
8. Identify disabilities in children, and so on.

Anganwadi Worker functions:

• They need to provide care for newborn babies and ensure that all children below the age of 6 are immunized.
• They are expected to provide antenatal care for pregnant women and ensuring that they are immunized against tetanus. In addition to this they provide post-natal care to nursing mothers.
• Since they primarily focus on poor and malnourished groups, they provide supplementary nutrition to children below the age of 6 and nursing and pregnant women.
• They ensure that regular health and medical check-ups for women 15- to 49-years-old take place and that all women and children have access to these check-ups.
• They work toward providing pre-school education to children who are between 3 and 5 years old.
• Anganwadi Worker (AWW) guides ASHA in performing activities such as organising Health Day once/twice a month at Anganwadi Centre and orientating women on health related issues such as importance of nutritious food, personal hygiene, care during pregnancy, importance of immunisation etc. Anganwadi worker is a depot holder for drug kits and will be issuing it to ASHA.


• Every 40 to 65 Anganwadi workers are supervised by one Mukhya Sevika. They provide on-the-job training.
• In addition to performing the responsibilities with the Anganwadi workers, they have other duties such as:

1. Keeping track of who are benefiting from the programme from low economic status — specifically those who belong to the malnourished category.
2. Guide the Anganwadi workers in assessing the age and weight of children and how to plot their weights.
3. Demonstrate effective methods, for example, in providing health and nutrition education to mothers.
4. Maintain statistics of Anganwadis and the workers to determine what can be improved.
• The Mukhya Sevika then reports to the Child development Projects Officer (CDPO).


India is a country suffering from overpopulation, malnourishment, poverty and high infant mortality rates. To counter the health and mortality issues there is a great need for medical and health care experts.

Unfortunately India has a shortage of skilled professionals. Therefore, through the Anganwadi system, the country is trying to meet its goal of enhanced health facilities that are affordable and accessible for local populations.

In many ways an Anganwadi worker is better equipped than a physician in reaching out to the rural population.

Since the worker lives with the people she is in a better position to identify the cause of health problems and hence counter them. She has a very good insight of the health status in her region.

Though Anganwadi workers are not as skilled or qualified as professionals they have better social skills thus making it easier to interact with the people.

Since these workers are from the village, they are trusted which makes it easier for them to help the people.

Anganwadi workers are well aware of the ways of the people, are comfortable with the language, know the rural folk personally etc. This makes it very easy for them to figure out the problems being faced by the people and ensure that they are solved.

Practice question: 

1. Which of the following is/are the functions of ASHAs?
1. ASHA work with the village health and sanitation committee of the State Government to develop a comprehensive village health plan.
2. ASHA will provide primary medical care for minor ailments such as diarrhoea, fevers, and first-aid for minor injuries.


a) Only 1

b) Only 2

c) Both

d) None

Ans: b
Exp: Functions of ASHAs are:
• ASHA will mobilize the community and facilitate them in accessing health and health related services available at the Anganwadi/sub-centre/primary health centres, such as immunization, ante natal check-up, post natal check-up, supplementary nutrition, sanitation and other services being provided by the government.
• She will work with the village health and sanitation committee of the gram panchayat to develop a comprehensive village health plan.
• She will arrange escort/accompany pregnant women and children requiring treatment/admission to the nearest pre-identified health facility i.e. primary health centre/community health centre/First Referral Unit.
• ASHA will provide primary medical care for minor ailments such as diarrhoea, fevers, and first-aid for minor injuries. She will be a provider of directly observed treatment short-course (DOTS) under revised national tuberculosis control programme.