Assam,6 July:The Union Minister for health and Family Welfare Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss will inaugurate the ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) convention at Guwahati on Tuesday July 8, 2008.
This unique interaction between the national policy-makers and grass-root activists is organized by the Government of Assam and will be attended by the Chief Minister of Assam Shri Tarun Gagoi and Health Minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma along with Senior Health Ministry officials. A large number of ASHAs are likely to participate in the convention.
The convention will also witness the handing over of Mobile phones to Auxiliary Nursing Midwifes (ANMs) by the Union Health Minister and the Chief Minister. Mission Director of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Shri G C Chaturvedi will sign a MoU with Emergency Management and Research Institute, an emergency management service operating in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
The ASHA convention acquires significance in the light of growing focus on the North East under NRHM. The region has seen 250% increase in investment in health sector in last three years. NRHM provides flexibility and resources to the North Eastern states to address the long neglected manpower shortages and infrastructure gaps. Nearly 300 specialists and doctors, 250 Ayurvedic doctors, more than 4000 ANMs, 1500 staff nurses, more than 400 laboratory technicians have been inducted into the health system in Assam only. Upgradation of 18 district hospitals, construction of 4 new district hospitals, 103 CHCs, 100 PHCs and construction of new facilities at 500 PHSCs have also been taken up by the State. 8 new General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) schools have been taken up and two Nursing Colleges have been approved in the current year. Guwahati Medical College has also been earmarked for funding. In addition, adequate funds have been provided to ensure availability of essential medicines upto the Sub Centre level.
One of the most crucial intervention under the NRHM, ASHA is envisaged as the link between community and health system, who will reinforce community action for universal immunization, safe delivery, newborn care, prevention of communicable diseases, improve nutrition and promotion of household toilets. She will inform, interact, mobilize and facilitate improved access to preventive and promotive health care and also provide basic curative care through her Drug Kit. Thus she will act as a catalyst in the government’s efforts to contain Maternal & Infant Mortality rates and would give an impetus to activity for improving maternal and child health. Initially the ASHA scheme was for 10 High Focus States, with weak health indicators, but later on ASHA scheme was approved for North – Eastern States and tribal districts of Non High Focus states. As per Government of India guidelines every village with a population of 1000 will have one ASHA, who will be a resident of the village, preferably with in the age group of 25-45 years, married / widow / divorced and at least with a formal education up to eighth standard. Flexibility in selection for tribal and hilly areas is given to the States.
ASHA in Assam
As on 30th June 2008 total 26225 no. of ASHA have been selected, trained and are functioning in 27 districts of Assam.
· Training: (23 Days =7 Days + 4+4+4+4 Days)
All 26225 ASHAs have been trained for 1st and 2nd Module. 23494 ASHAs have been trained for 3rd Module. 19966 of ASHA have been trained for 4th Module. All Trainings will be completed by July’ 2008. Completion of training and putting in place ASHA Support system is a major priority under NRHM.
· Orientation Training on Malaria
2 Days orientation training on Malaria was given to 14523 ASHAs. Main focus was to build capacity of the ASHA as a (Fever Treatment Depots) FTD. After Training ASHA will be able to help in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Malaria in her area.
· Radio Programme on ASHA
Radio sets have been provided to all functioning ASHAs, so ASHA radio programme has been launched in collaboration with Prasar Bharti and a Private Agency. At present broadcasting is going on from All India Radio, Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Silchar. Duration of the broadcast is half an hour, twice in a week. Total 39 episodes was aired till June’ 2008. Main purpose of this radio programme is to update knowledge of ASHA regarding her various activities and above all to motivate her voluntary social work.
· Umbrella Distribution:
Considering the difficulty to move during the Monsoon seasons (which lasts around 7 months, April to October in Assam) and also as an identity of ASHA, specially designed umbrella containing NRHM logo has been provided to all ASHAs.
· ASHA Kits:
All ASHA has been provided with a Drugs kit containing the specified drugs. At the time of distribution, orientation has been done regarding the instructions of the use of drugs. Replenishment of expended items is done from the general store of the Block PHC
· Disbursements of Payment of Incentive:
All ASHAs have opened their Bank Account. The system of transferring incentives directly to the bank has been introduced so that ASHA need not have to come to the PHC for collecting the incentives. Moreover, ASHA can also collect their incentives through Account Payee Cheque.
Dr Ramdoss will be on one day visit to Assam and will also inaugurate the National Seminar on Health, legal right and socials justice towards person with disability, organised by “DRISTIDAN” an NGO.