Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) is a trained female community health activist. Selected from the community itself and accountable to it, the ASHA will be trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system. At present there are over 9 Lakh ASHAs. The ASHA scheme is presently in place in 33 states (except Goa, Chandigarh & Puducherry).
In rural areas
In urban areas
In rural areas
There is one Community Health Volunteer i.e. ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) for every village with a population of 1000. The States have been given the flexibility to relax the population norms as well as the educational qualifications on a case to case basis, depending on the local conditions as far as her recruitment is concerned.
In urban areas
The role of an ASHA is that of a community level care provider. This includes a mix of tasks: facilitating access to health care services, building awareness about health care entitlements especially amongst the poor and marginalized, promoting healthy behaviours and mobilizing for collective action for better health outcomes and meeting curative care needs as appropriate to the organization of service delivery in that area and compatible with her training and skills.
ASHA worker is primarily an “honorary volunteer” but is compensated for her time in specific situations (such as training attendance, monthly reviews and other meetings).In addition she is eligible for incentives offered under various national health programmes. She would also have income from social marketing of certain healthcare products like condoms, contraceptive pills, sanitary napkins etc. Her work should be so designed that it is done without impinging on her main livelihood and adequate monetary compensation for the time she spends on these tasks- through performance based payments should be provided.
ASHA Benefit Package
ASHAs and ASHA Facilitators to be covered under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha BimaYojana (Life Insurance). The eligibility criteria are 18-70 years.Cover is for one-year period stretching from 1st June to 31st May and benefit is as under:–
The annual Premium of Rs 12 per beneficiary will be paid by Central Government.
ASHAs and ASHA Facilitators meeting the age criteria of 18-50 years to be covered under Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (Accident insurance). The annual premium of Rs. 330 (average) will be paid by the Central Government. Cover is for one-year period stretching from 1st June to 31st May and benefit is Rs 2 Lakh in case of death due to any cause.
ASHAs will get a minimum of Rs.2000/- per month from current Rs 1000/- per month as incentives for routine activities. This is effective from October 2018. This is in addition to other task based incentives approved at Central/State level.
As part of support mechanism, an ASHA facilitator is in place for between 10 to 25 ASHAs, to provide handholding and mentoring support, and monitor performance. She is a critical link of the support structure network. Substantial progress has been made by states in setting up support structures during the last three years, as states have increasingly become cognizant of the correlation between strong support structures and an effective ASHA programme. The ASHA facilitators are generally selected from amongst the ASHAs themselves. This position also serves as a career opportunity for ASHAs with the requisite qualifications, experience and aptitude.
There are 41,405 ASHA facilitators as on 2018.
All states except Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, West Bengal, Rajasthan and UTs have selected ASHA Facilitators. In these states, on-the- job mentoring support to ASHAs is provided by ANMs or, as in the case of West Bengal, by the Supervisor appointed by the Gram Panchayat or PHC supervisors at PHC level, as in the case of Rajasthan. Over half of the states (11 out of 19) that have ASHA Facilitators, have selected them from amongst a cluster of ASHAs, provided they meet all the selection criteria. These include states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab and Sikkim. In other states, preference is given to ASHAs in selection of ASHA facilitators.Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Gujarat. Goa does not have ASHAs.
ASHA Facilitator undertakes about 20 supervisory visits per month. To motivate ASHA facilitators to perform better, the supervisory visit charges for ASHA Facilitators has been increased from Rs. 250/-per visit to Rs. 300/- per visit w.e.f from October 2018 (to be paid in November, 2018). Hence, ASHA Facilitators would receive about Rs 6000 per month.The role of ASHA Facilitators is broadly summarized as under:
Source : National Health Mission