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Understanding the Hope Harbingers—ASHA, the Women Foot Soldiers of India’s National Rural Health Mission

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Research into Design for Communities, Volume 2 (ICoRD 2017)

Part of the book series: Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies ((SIST,volume 66))

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Abstract

This paper brings forth the case of a section of the Community Health Workers of India, called as the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA). ASHAs are young, school-educated rural women trained to promote health in their community. They are the grassroots level health care delivery mechanism for the Government of India’s National Rural Health Mission. This study was conducted in Kumrup District, Guwahati, India. The aim of the study was to understand the impact of the program and the ASHAs on public health distribution in the district, their motivations, expectations, road blocks and hurdles. Also the study aimed at understanding the general satisfaction level of an ASHA due to the above mentioned aspects peculiar to the district and its impact on her performance of assigned duties. The paper concludes with possible design directions which can enhance the impact of the program by improving the satisfaction level of the ASHAs.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Anganwadi (meaning “courtyard shelter” in Hindi) is a government sponsored child (0–6 years) and mother-care center in India for Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition.

  2. 2.

    The Panchayat, in India, is a system of local government at the village level.

  3. 3.

    Block is a district sub-division in India, which is next to Taluk level administration. For planning purpose district is divided into four levels: (1) Taluks, (2) Blocks, (3) Gram Panchayats, (4) Villages.

  4. 4.

    The Bodos are an ethnic and linguistic aboriginal group of the Brahmaputra valley in the northeast part of India. The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution recognizes them as “plains tribe”.

  5. 5.

    Bihari are the people who originated from the Indian state of Bihar.

  6. 6.

    Bengali are the people who originated from the Indian state of West Bengal and from the country of Bangladesh.

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Acknowledgements

Our sincere thanks to North Guwahati PHC officials and ASHAs and the members of the community who participated in the interviews and focus group discussions and provided us with the valuable information.

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Correspondence to Needa Jamil .

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Jamil, N., Vysak, A.S., Parihar, A., Banerjee, S. (2017). Understanding the Hope Harbingers—ASHA, the Women Foot Soldiers of India’s National Rural Health Mission. In: Chakrabarti, A., Chakrabarti, D. (eds) Research into Design for Communities, Volume 2. ICoRD 2017. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies, vol 66. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-3521-0_17

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-3521-0_17

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