Accredited Social Health Activist

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Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)
Country India
Prime Minister(s) Manmohan Singh
Ministry MoHFW
Launched 2005

Accredited social health activists (ASHAs) are community health workers instituted by the government of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as a part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).[1] 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.[2] The grand total number of ASHAs in India was reported in July 2013 to be 870,089.[3] 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 under way in these states.[4]

Roles and responsibilities[edit]

ASHAs are local women trained to act as health educators and promoters in their communities. The Indian MoHFW describes them as:[5] activist(s) 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.

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.[6] ASHAs are also meant to serve as a key communication mechanism between the healthcare system and rural populations.[7]

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. from


ASHAs must primarily be female residents of the village that they have been selected to serve, who are likely to remain in that village for the foreseeable future. Married, widowed or divorced women are preferred over women who have yet to marry since Indian cultural norms dictate that upon marriage a woman leaves her village and migrates to that of her husband. ASHAs preference for selection is they must have qualified up to the tenth grade, preferably be between the ages of 25 and 45, and are selected by and accountable to the gram panchayat (local government). If there is no suitable literate candidate, these criteria may be relaxed.[8]


Although ASHAs are considered volunteers, they receive outcome-based remuneration and financial compensation for training days. For example, if an ASHA facilitates an institutional delivery she receives 600 (US$8.40) and the mother receives 1,400 (US$19). ASHAs also receive 150 (US$2.10) for each child completing an immunization session and 150 (US$2.10) for each individual who undergoes family planning.[9] ASHAs are expected to attend a Wednesday meeting at the local primary health centre (PHC); beyond this requirement, the time ASHAs spend on their CHW tasks is relatively flexible.

Monitoring and Evaluation under National Rural Health Mission[edit]

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.

Impact of incentive-based work on Health services[edit]

A study on effectiveness of "ASHA INCENTIVE" on enhancing the functioning of ASHA in motivating couples having two or fewer children to undergo permanent sterilization in Surendranagar district of Gujarat, India by Nimavat Jh et al., shows contribution of ASHAs toward achievements in female sterilization shows that maximum motivation was done by ASHAs, and ASHAs performance was increased; 1.13 times for eligible couples and 1.14 times for couples having two or fewer children after introduction of an incentive, and incentive showed a significant impact on motivation of eligible couples (χ2 = 121.744, df = 1, P < 0.0001) and motivation couple having two or fewer children (χ2 = 74.893, df = 1, P < 0.0001) for female sterilization method by ASHAs.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ASHA, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), 2005, archived from the original on 22 April 2009 
  2. ^ National Rural Health Mission 2005–2012: Mission Document (PDF), MoHFW, archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2009 
  3. ^ Update on the ASHA programme, MoHFW, July 2013 
  4. ^ Update on the ASHA programme (PDF), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare., January 2015 
  5. ^ National Institute of Health and Family Welfare. (2005) “Frequently Asked Questions on ASHA.” Government of India. Accessed April 23, 2007, from[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). (2005c). ASHA.. Government of India. Accessed July 20, 2008, from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2009. 
  7. ^ Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). (2005a). National Rural Health Mission: Mission Document. Government of India. Accessed July 1, 2008, from "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-22. 
  8. ^ "About ASHA - Government of India". Retrieved 2018-02-20. 
  9. ^ Reading Material for ASHA (PDF), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), 2005, archived from the original (PDF) on 27 October 2007 
  10. ^ Nimavat, Jaykumar H. (12 April 2016). "Effectiveness of "ASHA INCENTIVE SCHEME of 2013" on enhancing the functioning of ASHA in motivating couples having two or less children to undergo permanent sterilization in Surendranagar district". International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health. doi:10.5455/ijmsph.2016.02022016395.