Knowledge and practice of Accredited Social Health Activists for maternal healthcare delivery in Delhi

J Family Med Prim Care. Jul-Sep 2015;4(3):359-63. doi: 10.4103/2249-4863.161317.

Abstract

Introduction: The role of community health workers in healthcare delivery system is considered inevitable to meet the goal of universal healthcare provision. The study was planned to assess the knowledge and practices for maternal health care delivery among Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers in North-East district of Delhi, India.

Materials and methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in North-East district of Delhi among 55 ASHA workers after taking written informed consent. Data were collected using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire consisted of items on sociodemographic profile of ASHA workers, knowledge, and practices about maternal health. The data was analyzed by using SPSS software version 17. Qualitative data were expressed in percentages and quantitative data were expressed in mean ± standard deviation (SD).

Results: Mean age (±SD) of ASHAs was 31.84 ± 7.2 years. Most of the ASHAs workers were aware of their role in provision of maternal health services. Most of the ASHAs workers were aware of their work of bringing mothers for antenatal check-up (94.5%), counseling for family planning (96.4%), and accompanying them for hospital for delivery (89.1%). 87% of ASHAs knew that iron tablets have to be taken for minimum 100 days during pregnancy. 51 (92.7%) ASHAs reported that they used to maintain antenatal register. Some problems reported by ASHAs while working in community were shortage of staff at health center (16.4%), no transportation facility available (14.5%), no money for emergency, and opposition from local dais (12.7% each).

Conclusion: Present study showed that ASHAs knowledge is good but their practices are poor due to number of problems faced by them which need to be addressed through skill based training in terms of good communication and problem solving. Monitoring should be made an integral part of ASHA working in the field to ensure that knowledge is converted into practices as well.

Keywords: Community health worker; family welfare; maternal health; universal healthcare.