More money, tasks for ASHA workers

New Delhi, April 18, 2012: The job profile for ubiquitous village health workers delivering basic health care services across rural India is all set to expand. They will, however, be rewarded handsomely for additional tasks.


The Central government plans to hand over the responsibility of immunising more and more children, educating village girls on menstrual hygiene, promoting use of iodised salt and informing newly married couple to space out the birth of first and second children, to the community health workers, known as ASHA (accredited social health activists), sources said.


ASHA cadet of rural health workers lie at the core of national rural health mission and is widely perceived to be the reason behind NRHM success. India currently has 8.61 lakh ASHA workers who contributed in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates by encouraging institutional delivery and home-based new born care.


The mission steering group of NRHM has now decided to involve ASHA workers in bringing children for the universal immunisation programme. Each of them will get Rs 100 for every child that receives complete first year immunisation and another Rs 50 for every kid who receives full immunisation in the second year.


At the moment, full immunisation coverage is only 61 per cent at the national-level with wide variations in states like Uttar Pradesh, which has fairly low immunisation coverage.


Under the universal immunisation programme, a child is vaccinated against seven diseases — diphtheria, pertusis, tetanus, polio, measles, hepatitis-B and tuberculosis.


Informing village girls about menstrual hygiene and providing them with sanitary napkins will be another new task for ASHAs besides counselling village elders on nutritional need of children. (Source: PTI)


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version - 6.22-2011.05.27-01