International Midwives Day – Role of ASHA workers in India
- One of the key stakeholders providing the last mile connectivity under National Health Mission is Community Health Worker called ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activist)
- Each ASHA worker takes care of a village with a population of about 1000
- Currently close to 9 Lakh ASHA workers are deployed across 33 states/union territories
- Each ASHA worker undergoes initial training period of 23 days over 5 episodes in addition to the continuous on the job training
- Intervention by Community based Village Health Workers – pioneered by Dr Abhay Bang and Dr Rani Bang through their NGO SEARCH in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra showed below results
- Decreased Neonatal Mortality by 20% compared to control group
- Reduction in Case Fatalities – 60% decrease for preterm, 70% reduction in low birth weight babies
- 44% reduction in neonatal morbidity attributable to pneumonia
- Substantial decrease in co-morbidities such as sepsis, asphyxia, hypothermia and feeding problems
Midwives are traditional care providers for mothers and infants who are trained professionals with expertise and skills in supporting women to maintain healthy pregnancies and have optimal birthing and recovery during their post-partum period following childbirth.
Midwifery is a women centered model of maternity care that is utilized in most major countries of the world.
They are primary care providers for women across their lifespan.
In India, ASHA workers, Aanganwadi workers and ANW workers (Axillary Nurse Midwives) form a vital role in women and child health as an interface between the community and the public health system.
These skilled professionals support the community on behalf of the government for supporting women in labor to later pregnancy care and social services.
They’re involved in prenatal care such as – counselling women on birth preparedness, importance of safe delivery and postnatal care including – information on breastfeeding, immunization, prevention of reproductive tract infections (RTIs) and coach on the proper care of infants.
Midwifery care has shown proven benefits for expecting mothers in various scenarios such as:
- Reduction in requirement of pain medication or anesthesia for expecting mothers
- Reduced chances of episiotomies
- Increased chances of normal vaginal deliveries
- Shorter hospital stays for hospital birth experiences
- Increased breastfeeding rates due to constant education for expecting mothers
We, at Activ Doctors Online, emphasize on compassionate and continuous evidence based healthcare for women and strongly believe that Nurses and Midwives form an integral cog of Women and Child Health in India.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India (MoHFW) launched the Nursing and Midwifery Portal in 2013 for knowledge, information and to emphasize on its importance.