Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) are being deployed for every 1000 population in the state. ASHAs are voluntary workers who are paid incentives based on performance.
ASHAs will act as a link between the community and health care services and ensure that the primary health care services are accessed by the rural poor. Considering the peculiar Health scenario in Kerala the role of ASHAs has been extended to other fields like Prevention & Control of Communicable diseases, Identification & Control of NCD’s, Palliative care and Community based Mental Health Programme.
Though started late when compared to other states, the implementation of ASHA scheme in the state has gained significant momentum in the last two years which is reflected on indicators like ANC and Immunisation etc. Till July 2009, 30909 ASHAs have been selected and 27904 ASHAs who were given the induction training have been deployed in the field. Drug kits are being provided to ASHAs as per GoI norms. 22750 drug kits have already been procured and distributed. Debit card system has also been implemented in one of the districts to avoid delay in payment of incentives.
A special pilot programme on managing Non-communicable diseases has been launched in two districts of the state where ASHA workers are thoroughly trained and equipped with necessary instruments to manage NCDs at the community level
A comprehensive decentralized cancer care programme has also been initiated whereby a community based cancer registry with the help of ASHA, establishing a network of community volunteers and NGOs involving in awareness, early detection, follow up and palliative care activities will be done. A comprehensive tracking system of pregnant women and under five children in being introduced to ensure follow up on ANC and prevent immunization drop outs.