COMMENT: Capacity building of community health workers: One size does not fit both rural and urban settings

Indian J Med Ethics. 2022 Oct-Dec;VII(4):272-279. doi: 10.20529/IJME.2022.078.


The Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) programme in India is the world’s largest all-female Community Health Workers (CHWs) programme. ASHAs are supposed to bridge the gap between community and health services by functioning as healthcare catalysts, service providers, and community-level health activists. This paper discusses the ethical challenges posed by using the same template for capacity building of ASHAs in rural and urban contexts, without accounting for the differences. Urban heterogeneity and rapidly growing urbanisation demand special attention for crucial programme activities like the capacity-building of ASHAs. When the relevant literature like policy and programme documents, training modules, and implementation guidelines were analysed, it was evident that the simple transplantation of rural models to urban contexts would not be a useful strategy. The recommended areas for improvement are the urban-specific customisation of ASHAs’ roles, the consideration of urban heterogeneity in the training content and pedagogy, utilising the advantages of the urban set-up, ensuring supportive supervision mechanisms for ASHAs, strengthening overall inter-sectoral convergence and community processes in urban areas.

PMID:36398390 | DOI:10.20529/IJME.2022.078


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