ASHAs to be appointed in all villages of the country:Ramadoss

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New Delhi, Aug 5 (UNI) The presence and role of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) will be expanded under the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) to cover the entire country by year-end.

This was decided at a meeting of the Mission Steering Group of the NHRM here yesterday attended by among others Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

ASHAs will now be deployed in 62,000 villages of the country against the 18 focus states at present.

As part of their expanded role, ASHAs will be provided kits and training to take on added responsibilities in the government programmes covering immunisation, maternal and child health, nutrition, ante-natal care, sanitation, malaria and tuberculosis.

Stating that the United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) flagship programme had "far exceeded expectations", Dr Ramadoss expressed satisfaction at its progress.

Also present were Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer and public health experts.

Dr Ramadoss said in all states of the country the public system was showing new vigour and the public was returning to government health facilities in larger numbers as seen at OPDs, In Patients, surgeries and family welfare procedures.

Increased allocation, infrastructure upgradation, and human resource augmentation are among the NHRM mandated reforms being envisaged.

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