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Updated: June 20, 2014 02:54 IST

Mobile phones, increased incentives for health workers from next month

Special Correspondent
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U.T. Khader
The Hindu
U.T. Khader

State will also give them an honorarium of Rs. 1,000

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) in the State have a reason to cheer. The government is all set to implement its proposal to provide mobile phones and increased incentive to the 33,000 health workers from next month.

Health and Family Welfare Minister U.T. Khader told presspersons here on Thursday that the process of implementing the budgetary proposal to pay an equal amount of performance-based incentives that the health workers were now getting from the Union government had started. “Funds have been released to pay matching grants to the workers from November 2013 to March 2014,” he said.

This apart, the government would also pay a fixed honorarium of Rs. 1,000 to the workers who are getting a similar amount from the Union government. “We have also urged the Centre to further increase the incentives in this year’s Project Implementation Plan ,” Mr. Khader said.

ASHAs are community health workers in the World Bank-sponsored National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being implemented by the Union government across the country. According to NRHM guidelines, the health workers are supposed to receive performance-based incentives for promoting universal immunisation, referral and escort services for Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) and other healthcare programmes.

Aimed at bringing a positive change to preventive healthcare, including maternal and disease-control programmes, the decision to provide Closed User Group (CUG) SIM cards and mobile phones follows approval from the Health Ministry.

The pre-paid mobile phones would be for specific usage to promote health programmes. It would help the health workers communicate effectively with people as well as the health system, such as doctors, nurses and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs), the Minister said.

Decision welcomed

The Karnataka State Samyukta ASHA Workers’ Association has welcomed the decision. Association general secretary D. Nagalakshmi said mobile phones would be of great help for the activists as they were spending from their pocket to submit daily reports to ANMs and doctors.

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