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Accredited Social Health Activists(ASHA) UPSC NOTE

 What is Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA)?

  • Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) are female community health workers employed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as part of India's National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). 

  • Launched in 2005, the program aimed to connect marginalized communities, particularly women and children, to the healthcare system by placing an "ASHA in every village."

Key Responsibilities:

  • ASHAs educate communities about various health issues, including maternal and child health, nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene. 

  • They also dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding health.

  • ASHAs act as bridges between communities and healthcare facilities, encouraging people to utilize available health services like immunization, antenatal care, and family planning.

  • ASHAs offer first-aid, treat minor illnesses, and manage common ailments within their training and skillset. 

  • They also refer patients requiring specialized care to appropriate health centers.

  • The ASHA program has significantly contributed to improved maternal and child health indicators in India. 

  • It has led to increased immunization coverage, reduced infant mortality rates, and promoted better healthcare practices.

  • ASHAs, being part of the communities they serve, foster trust and understanding, making healthcare more accessible and acceptable

  • They also empower women by providing them with knowledge, skills, and opportunities to participate in their own health and well-being.

  • ASHAs play a crucial role in delivering essential healthcare services at the community level, contributing to a more cost-effective healthcare system.

Selection of ASHA

  • Selecting an ASHA involves a rigorous process that aims to find individuals best suited to serve their communities effectively. 

Eligibility:

  • Gender: Primarily women, though exceptions might exist in specific situations.

  • Age: Generally between 25-45 years old.

  • Residence: Must be a resident of the village/area they'll serve for at least six months.

  • Education: Minimum qualification is Class 8th pass, though higher education is preferred.

  • Other qualities: Effective communication skills, leadership qualities, ability to build rapport with the community, and commitment to public health.

Selection Process:

  • Local Nominations: Self-help groups, Anganwadi institutions, Gram Panchayats, and community members nominate potential candidates.

  • Shortlisting: A committee comprising village health committee members, local health workers, and government officials shortlist candidates based on eligibility and merit.

  • Community Meeting: Shortlisted candidates present their plans and answer questions in a public meeting, allowing the community to provide feedback.

  • Selection: The final selection is made by a committee considering community feedback, candidate qualifications, and interview performance.

Challenges faced by ASHAs, women who play a crucial role in India's healthcare system

  • ASHAs play a pivotal role in India's healthcare system, but they face numerous challenges that can hinder their effectiveness and well-being.

Financial and Job Security:

  • Most ASHAs receive performance-based incentives, leading to fluctuating incomes and financial insecurity.

  • Often, incentives are delayed for months, creating further financial strain.

  • Unlike other healthcare workers, ASHAs lack a fixed salary, which can impact their long-term financial planning and stability.

Work-Related Challenges:

  • ASHAs manage diverse responsibilities, leading to work overload and burnout.

  • Limited access to transportation, communication tools, and medical supplies can hamper their work.

  • ASHAs may face resistance from communities due to traditional practices, gender stereotypes, or lack of awareness about their role.

  • Working in remote areas or challenging environments can expose them to risks like harassment or violence.

Personal and Professional Development:

  • Ongoing training and skill development opportunities are crucial, but resources and access can be limited.

  • The program primarily offers voluntary service, with limited opportunities for career advancement or professional recognition.

  • Balancing family responsibilities with their demanding work can be challenging for many ASHAs.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Accredited Social Health Activists(ASHA) UPSC NOTE
Accredited Social Health Activists(ASHA) UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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