Why is it in the news?
- The Central government has expanded the coverage of the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme to include Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers and Anganwadi workers.
· ASHA workers play a crucial role in community health education and promotion. They provide information on various aspects of health and hygiene, including nutrition, sanitation, and hygienic practices.
· They offer counselling to women on birth preparedness, safe delivery practices, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and immunization.
· ASHA workers mobilize communities and facilitate access to health services available at Anganwadi centres, sub-centres, and primary health centres, thereby bridging the gap between the community and healthcare facilities.
· ASHA workers are selected through a systematic process involving various stakeholders such as community groups, self-help groups, block and district nodal officers, village health committees, and Gram Sabhas.
· The selection criteria prioritize women residents of villages who are married, widowed, or divorced, preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years.
· The ASHA program was launched in 2005-06 as part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) with a focus on rural areas. It was later extended to urban areas with the introduction of the National Urban Health Mission in 2013, thereby expanding its reach and impact.
· Mission Indradhanush is a flagship initiative aimed at immunizing all children against vaccine-preventable diseases under India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP).
· The program provides free vaccines against 12 life-threatening diseases, including Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis B, Pneumonia, Meningitis, Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rotavirus diarrhoea.
· Mission Indradhanush targets children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, with the goal of achieving full immunization coverage and reducing the burden of vaccine-preventable illnesses.