Role of ASHA
• The National Health Mission was launched to provide effective health care to the entire rural population in the country.
• The core strategy of the mission is to provide well trained female health activist (Accredited Social Health Activist- ASHA) in each village (1/1000 population) to fill the gap of unequal distribution of health services in rural area.
• ASHAs are expected to create awareness on health and its determinants, mobilize the community towards local health planning, and increase utilization of the existing health services.
Responsibilities of ASHA will be as follows:
a) ASHA will take steps to create awareness and provide information to the community on determinants of health. such as nutrition, basic sanitation and hygienic practices, healthy living and working conditions, information on existing health services, and the need for timely utilization of health and family welfare services.
b) She will counsel, women on birth preparedness, importance of safe delivery, breast-feeding and complementary feeding, immunization, contraception and prevention of common infections including reproductive tract infection/sexually transmitted infection and care of the young child.
c) 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.
d) She will work with the village health and sanitation committee of the gram panchayat to develop a comprehensive village health plan.
e) 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.
f) 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.
g) She will also act as a depot holder for essential provisions being made available to every habitation like oral rehydration therapy, iron folic acid tablet, chloroquine, disposable delivery kits, oral pills and condoms etc. A drug kit will be provided to each ASHA. Contents of the, kit will be based on the recommendations of the expert/technical advisory group set up by the-government of India, and include both AYUSH and allopathic formulations.
h) Her role as a provider can be enhanced subsequently. States can explore the possibility of graded training to her for providing newborn care and management of a range of common ailments, particularly childhood illnesses.
i) She Will inform about’ the .births and deaths in her village and any unusual health problems/disease outbreaks in the community to the sub-centre/primary health centre.
j) She will promote construction of household toilets under total sanitation campaign.
Role and integration with Anganwadi:
Anganwadi worker will guide ASHA in performing following activities:
(a) Organizing Health Day once/twice a month. On health day, the, women, adolescent girls and children from the village will be mobilized for orientation on health related issues such as importance of nutritious food, personal hygiene, care during pregnancy, importance of antenatal check- up and institutional delivery, home remedies for minor ailment and importance of immunization etc. AWWs will inform ANM to participate and guide organizing the Health Days at Anganwadi centre;
(b) AWWs and ANMs will act as resource persons for the training of ASHA;
(c) ICE activity through display of posters folk dances etc. on these days can be undertaken to sensitize the beneficiaries on health-related issues;
(d) Anganwadi worker will be depot holder for drug kits and will be issuing it to ASHA. The replacement of the consumed drugs can also be done through AWW;
(e) AWW will update the list of eligible couples and also the children less than one year of age in the village with the help of ASHA; and
(f) ASHA will support the AWW in mobilizing pregnant and lactating women and infants for nutrition supplement. She would also take initiative for bringing the beneficiaries from the village on specific days of immunization, health check-ups/ health days etc. to Anganwadi centres.