At PRASAD Chikitsa’s Family Health Center, the Midwife or Dai Program has evolved into the Accredited Social Health Activist or ASHA Training.
This training program is still part of the Reproductive Child Health program. It continues the Midwife Program’s intense focus on reducing maternal and child mortality rates and ensuring the health and well-being of the mother, child and family.
Just as a Midwife would, an ASHA counsels women on birth preparedness, the importance of safe delivery, breast-feeding, bottle-feeding and the care of young children. ASHAs also teach women about immunization, contraception and preventable infections.
One goal of India’s National Rural Health Mission is to provide every village in the country with a trained, female ASHA, and PRASAD fully supports that goal; in 2010 alone, we trained more than 260 ASHAs for villages in our catchment area.
The PRASAD ASHA’s role has a much wider scope though, and so PRASAD Chikitsa expanded the training beyond the Indian Government’s ASHA training module. The PRASAD model incorporates new elements of public outreach and education.
Each PRASAD ASHA works with the people of her own community. She provides information on health standards such as nutrition, basic sanitation and hygienic practices and healthy living and working conditions. She also helps people gain access to government services such as immunization, pre-and-post natal check-ups and supplementary nutrition. ASHAs even work with PRASAD’s Self-Help Groups, women’s health committees, village leaders and Day Care workers, to encourage villagers to use all the services available to them, to generate lasting, community-wide improvements to their health, safety and quality of life.