Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 18 August 2020

In Today’s News:

  1. Accredited Social Health Activists(ASHA).

1. Accredited Social Health Activist(ASHA)

News Summary

It is a piece of political news that is not relevant to the exam.

Prelims GS – Polity/Governance

  • One of the key components of the National Rural Health Mission is to provide every village in the country with a trained female community health activist ASHA or Accredited Social 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.
Selection criteria for ASHAs:
  • ASHA must primarily be a woman resident of the village married/ widowed/ divorced, preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years.
  • She should be a literate woman with due preference in selection to those who are qualified up to 10th standard wherever they are interested and available in good numbers. This may be relaxed only if no suitable person with this qualification is available.
  • ASHA will be chosen through a rigorous process of selection involving various community groups, self-help groups, Anganwadi Institutions, the Block Nodal officer, District Nodal officer, the village Health Committee and the Gram Sabha.

Mini Insights

Mains GS2 – Governance

Role of ASHA  :
  • ASHA will be the first port of call for any health-related demands of deprived sections of the population, especially women and children, who find it difficult to access health services.
  • ASHA will be a health activist in the community who will create awareness on health and its social determinants and mobilize the community towards local health planning and increased utilization and accountability of the existing health services.
  • She would be a promoter of good health practices and will also provide a minimum package of curative care as appropriate and feasible for that level and make timely referrals.
  • ASHA will provide information to the community on determinants of health such as nutrition, basic sanitation & hygienic practices, healthy living and working conditions, information on existing health services, and the need for timely utilization of health & family welfare services.
  • She will counsel women on birth preparedness, the importance of safe delivery, breast-feeding and complementary feeding, immunization, contraception, and prevention of common infections including Reproductive Tract Infection/Sexually Transmitted Infections (RTIs/STIs) and care of the young child.
  • ASHA will mobilize the community and facilitate them in accessing health and health-related services available at the Anganwadi/sub-centre/primary health centers, such as immunization, Ante Natal Check-up (ANC), Post Natal Check-up supplementary nutrition, sanitation and other services being provided by the government.
  • She will act as a depot holder for essential provisions being made available to all habitations like Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORS), Iron Folic Acid Tablet(IFA), chloroquine, Disposable Delivery Kits (DDK), Oral Pills & Condoms, etc.
  • The capacity building of ASHA is a continuous process and ASHA will have to undergo a series of training episodes to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and confidence for performing her spelled out roles.
  • The ASHAs will receive performance-based incentives for promoting universal immunization, referral and escort services for Reproductive & Child Health (RCH) and other healthcare programs, and construction of household toilets.
  • Empowered with knowledge and a drug-kit to deliver first-contact healthcare, every ASHA is expected to be a fountainhead of community participation in public health programs in her village.
Click here to visit the official website to know more about ASHA and guidelines.
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