Maharashtra public health department is set to achieve the required number of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers in the state with appointment of around 3,000 ASHA workers in 2016-17.
With the fresh appointment underway in 34 districts of the state, the total number of ASHA workers would reach 60,000, the figure needed to cater to medical needs of people in the state as per census 2011.
At present there are 57,000 ASHA workers in the state. Of them, 15000 ASHAs have passed class 12th and 2500 ASHAs are post graduates. ASHAs are community health workers instituted by the government of India’s ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) as part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). They act as an interface between the healthcare system and rural population. ASHAs create awareness among rural populace on determinants of health such as nutrition, basic sanitation & hygienic practices, healthy living and working conditions, existing health services and the need for timely utilisation of health & family welfare services.
They mobilise the community and facilitate them in accessing health and health related services available at nearby health facilities such as immunisation, institutionalised delivery, ante natal check-up, post natal check-up supplementary nutrition, sanitation and other services being provided by the government.
Anil Naxine, project director ASHA, NRHM, Maharashtra said “We have one ASHA per 1500 population in rural areas and one ASHA per 1000 people in tribal areas as per 2001 census. Considering the 2011 census, we decided to recruit 3000 ASHAs to cater to medical requirement of increased population in the state. The chief medical officials in 34 districts have been given in principal approval to conduct recruitment of 3000 ASHAs in 2016-17.”
Naxine said “ASHA workers receive performance-based incentives for promoting universal immunisation, referral and escort services for reproductive & child health (RCH) and other healthcare programmes. In order to enable ASHAs to get salaried job, we provide them Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and General Nursing And Midwifery (GNM) training for free. Two ASHAs are selected annually based on their performance for ANM and GNM courses run by the government training institutes. On completion of the course, ASHAs can work as nurse in hospitals. So far 200 ASHAs have done ANM and GNM courses.”