Health care: When frontline workers are empowered on water, sanitation & hygiene needs

WaterAid India

In Uttar Pradesh, efforts are being made to strengthen the frontline workers, namely the ASHA, ANMs and AWWs, on water, sanitation and hygiene in health care using informative training tools for sustained learnings.

On the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28 May 2017, the Mission Director, National Health Mission and the Swachh Bharat Mission took the opportunity to release an FAQ booklet on the roles and responsibilities of ASHA, ANM, AWW in the context of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

As eminent spokes in the wheel of the National Health Mission (NHM), ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist), ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) and AWW (Anganwadi Worker) are trained workers who address basic health issues of their respective communities. These frontline workers play a major role in rural areas to create awareness as well.

In continuation to the process of strengthening water, sanitation and hygiene in health care, WaterAid India, along with partners, advocated for the cause by linking the FAQ booklet as a part of training tool with the state NHM community process department head, Dr. Rajesh Jha. This tool will now be used by the frontline workers for better outreach.

Dr. Jha agreed that the booklet should reach to the entire state for use. For reinforcing the approach further, Dr. Jha suggested to orient the District Community Process Managers (DCPMs) and the Block Community Process Manager (BCPMs) on the same.

The DCPM is a critical position under NHM at the district level responsible for all community engagement, mobilisation, and capacity building of frontline functionaries; hence strengthening our district-wide intervention.

Therefore, meetings were held on 11th and 14th August 2017 in batches of two. The DCPMs would then take it forward in their respective districts, along with the ASHA sanginis (associates).

The meeting was attended by over 50 DCPMs. They were oriented on WASH and its association with neonatal health/mortality, infant mortality, maternal mortality, and morbidity, as well as adolescent health. The meeting comprised discussions on the importance of the FAQ booklets, which would be used by the ASHA sanginis during their community meetings.

With this one mechanism, the learnings would help scale up the status of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at the district as well as the state l\evel. Such training would help the frontline workers to form a link between WASH and health care and would result in being an added value for sustained knowledge.

 

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