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India is the world’s largest democracy with a growing population of about (approx. 1.21 million people according to 2011 census) has presented before India enormous challenges and opportunities.

India accounts for 21% of world’s global burden of diseases.

The UN MDG of reducing child and women mortality rate by 20.5 is the greatest burden as the rates of women and child deaths and highest in the world.

Gender issues relating to health remains a huge concern for India, as selective gender abortions in 2011 have increased with female to male sex ratio in the 0-6 years have declined drastically from 0.945 in 1991 to 0.914 in 2011.

India has made impressive advances in non-communicable disease with complete eradication of polio and the rise of cosmopolitan culture, rapid changes in Indian society have come to fore . The increasing rates of total morbidity burden accounted for about 53% of total deaths. (up from 40.4% in 1990 and expected t increase to 59% by 2015)

Association for Sanitation and Health Activities (ASHA) core aim is to focus on this growing menace and to address the core issues central to the problem at a grass root level. Besides the availability and quality of care, there are several other factors which affect the health outcomes among the poor. The availability of easily assessable quality health care in rural India is still a myth as the condition of medical facilities is deplorable carried out by ASHA. The research carried out by ASHA presents us with some grim facts about the present state of rural healthcare in India and therefore ASHA is committed to build new practices and procedures to ensure that quality healthcare reaches the deprived communities and the disadvantage groups including women and children in the remotest rural area.

The poor accessibility and quality of public healthcare services in the rural areas is a major contributing factor for people residing in those regions to turn to private healthcare sector. This creates a monopoly by the private healthcare sector whose quality of services is variable and is unregulated. Moreover they are very expensive for the low income group people to avail such facilities. This problem is also partly due to the fact that not too many medical practitioner, doctors are willing to relocate and serve in the rural regions while those who are present are mere general medical knowledge and have no specialized expertise in a given fields. So the availability of quality doctors in rural areas is a matter of great concern.

Health intervention by ASHA

  • The role of technology to supplement rural healthcare services.
  • Ensuring technological inputs into rural healthcare services to provide equitable and affordable care.
  • ASHA has developed a mechanism to deal with the emerging healthcare challenges. To address this challenge, ASHA has adopted measures, which is a combination of education for awareness generation; policy   related measures and inculcated healthy living habits.

The greatest challenge today in the public healthcare sector is the modernization of the health system in the social cause benefits structure, service provision (overwhelmingly in private hands) and its quality. ASHA addresses these key issues by creating a model of employment, providing water and sanitation.

The role of ASHA in striving towards building a healthy world is to create awareness about the emergence of many dreadful diseases which had been unknown to the large masses in the rural areas.

ASHA has formed a Community Action Group (CAG) in Odisha and plans to follow it up in other states as well. Our organization has focus in setting up a women’s community action group as a principal agents for change. Women’s participation in the development process would create an effective vehicle for partnership which can add many development projects. ASHA has created its own model of CAG for women’s group.