Accredited social health activist (ASHA) is a community health worker instituted by the government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as a part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The mission began in 2005; full implementation was targeted for 2012. Once fully implemented, there is to be “an ASHA in every village” in India, a target that translates into 250,000 ASHAs in 10 states. The grand total number of ASHAs in India was reported in July 2013 to be 870,089. There are 859,331 ASHAs in 32 states and union territories as per the data provided by the states in December 2014. This excludes data from the states of Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Puducherry, and Chandigarh, since the selection of ASHA is underway in these states.
Their tasks include motivating women to give birth in hospitals, bringing children to immunization clinics, encouraging family planning (e.g., surgical sterilization), treating basic illness and injury with first aid, keeping demographic records, and improving village sanitation. ASHAs are also meant to serve as a key communication mechanism between the healthcare system and rural populations.
A baseline survey is to be taken at the district level. It is for fixing decentralized monitoring goals and indicators. The community monitoring would be at the village level. The planning commission would be the eventual monitor of outcomes. External evaluation will be taken up at frequent intervals
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