In India, some of the most prominent health care workers are organized within the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Auxiliary Nurse and Midwives (ANMs). The Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) has been inherently working with ASHAs and ANMs ever since inception.
The concept of ASHA was introduced in 2005 with the launch of the National Rural Health Mission (NHM). Consisting of women from the village, influencers chosen from their own communities, the ASHAs provides a reliable interface between national healthcare programs and rural communities in India. The NHM commits to training ASHAs as counsellors who visit homes and promote the message of immunization schedules for children, and improving sanitation through handwashing and keeping homes clean. ASHAs also encourage institutional deliveries of pregnant women, exclusive breastfeeding for newborns and infants and teach families to share household responsibilities.
ANMs have been in existence even before India became a republic. With reformations in the Indian healthcare system, the roles of ANMs have shifted from taking deliveries at home to advanced levels of key clinical and curative skills in district hospitals in India. The contemporary ANM in India is a multitasker working in the community as well as district hospitals.
The World Health Worker Week is an opportunity to mobilize communities, partners, and policy makers in support of health workers in our communities and around the world. The Norwegian Embassy wishes to celebrate the health workers in India for the amazing work that they do, and put focus on the challenges they face every day. Happy Health Worker Week!