Accredited Social Health Activist, or ASHA, worker is female healthcare activist trained to facilitate the work of the nationwide public health system within their community. ASHA workers are a core part of the National Rural Health Mission launched by the Government of India. ASHA workers are trained to act as a care provider at the community level and facilitate access to healthcare, medicine and sanitation services. ASHA workers also work to raise the level of awareness of health issues among the marginalised sections within the community. The states are mandated to employ at least one ASHA worker per every 1000 people.
ASHA or Accredited Social Health Activist workers are a community of female healthcare activists trained to facilitate the work of the nationwide public health system within their community. ASHA workers are a core part of the National Rural Health Mission launched by the Government of India.
The following are the selection standards and qualification requirements for ASHA Healthcare Workers:
The prospective candidate must be a married, widowed or divorced female resident of the village she’s applying to work at.
Candidates must be aged between 25 and 45 years.
Candidates must be literate. Preference is given to those with a 10th pass certificate.
There are several interviews at the Anganwadi, block and district levels. The health committees maintain a thorough selection process.
The prospective candidates must be female residents of vulnerable clusters or slums within an urban setup.
This slum or cluster must be identified by the City or District Health Society as priority zones for ASHA healthcare workers.
Must be aged between 25 and 45 years
The candidate should preferably be married, widowed, separated or divorced.
Candidates must be literate. Preference is given to 10th pass certificate holders.
Fluency in the native language of the community
The following are the rules for the availability of ASHA healthcare workers:
The states are mandated to employ at least one Community Health Volunteer or an ASHA healthcare worker for every village with a population of more than 1000 residents.
The selection standards and the qualification norms can be relaxed if there is a shortage of such ASHA workers in the village.
The respective Health Department of a State to assess all urban locales in the state to identify vulnerable settlements and slums that need healthcare and sanitation aid.
At least one ASHA healthcare worker must be appointed for every 1000 people residing in a community.
However, places with a high population density can employ one ASHA healthcare worker for every 500-600 members of the community.
ASHA workers can also be appointed for smaller populations if the community is dispersed.
If there are more than one vulnerable groups present in a community, more than one ASHA healthcare worker can be appointed as well.
The following are the everyday tasks that an ASHA healthcare worker is trained to handle:
Act as a care provider at the community level.
Facilitating access to healthcare, medicine and sanitation services.
Raising the level of awareness of health issues among the marginalised sections within the community.
Advocate for female health and hygiene standards
Advocate for a health-conscious behaviour and approach to livelihood.
However, these services are not exhaustive. There are many other tasks that an ASHA healthcare worker might have to undertake depending on the specific needs of the community.
The role of an ASHA worker is entirely voluntary.
These ASHA healthcare workers are compensated for their time spent in training, reviews and other official meetings.
Generally, their tasks are organised around their primary source of income.
However, there are various perks and benefits of working as an ASHA healthcare worker.
ASHA healthcare workers fall under the ambit of the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. All ASHA workers under the age of 70 years of age are covered by this benefit package for a period of one year.
This benefit package includes the following perks for the ASHA workers:
Compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs for death due to accident
Compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs for complete permanent physical disabilities such as total and permanent damage to both eyes, loss of the use of both hands or feet, loss of sight of one eye and loss of use of one hand or one foot.
Compensation of Rs. 1 Lakh in case of permanent partial disability. This includes the complete loss of sight of one eye or loss of use of one hand or one foot.
All ASHA healthcare workers that are under the age of 50 years come under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana as well. This benefit package includes the following perks for the ASHA workers:
Compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs in cases of death due to any reason with a one year cover period.
A minimum incentive of Rs. 2000 from the State or the Centre for performing routine activities.
ASHA coordinators are selected from among the ASHA healthcare workers recruited.
The ASHA coordinator is tasked with the responsibility to coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the other ASHA workers.
They must also provide systematic grievance redressal and support the involved community members.
ASHA workers are mandated to carry out around 20 supervisory visits across villages and are paid a remuneration of around Rs. 300 for each visit. Which is approximately Rs. 6000 per month.
The ASHA healthcare workers work voluntarily.
No defined salary is provided. But, there are multiple schemes and remuneration options for such workers under the State and National Health Missions.
There are fixed incentives of upto Rs. 7000 a month and variable performance-based incentives of up upto Rs. 5000 per month for them.
The monitoring and evaluation regime under the National Rural Health Mission comprises district-level surveys to identify the priority health and hygiene issues. Many organisations such as the Gram Sabhas, Block Offices are involved in its implementation.
As healthcare becomes an important sector in India today, most of the health issues remain at the grassroots levels, where the implementation of the national-level scheme is meagre. As an alternative to this, the ASHA workers fill the gaps among the rural and the other vulnerable sections of society.
The full form of ASHA is Accredited Social Health Activist. They are healthcare workers at the grassroots levels.
The ASHA healthcare workers are grass-root level volunteers in the domain of healthcare. They are tasked with maintaining health and hygiene standards within vulnerable communities.
There is no fixed salary for the ASHA healthcare workers. There are, however, some perks and benefits. This role is entirely voluntary.
The role of an ASHA coordinator is monitoring and evaluating all the ASHA healthcare works and reporting on the needs and necessities of the regions. It also involves grievance redressal.
You need to be a literate female residing in a rural setup or in a vulnerable cluster to be an ASHA worker. Candidates with a 10th pass certificate and candidates who are married, divorced or widowed are prioritised.