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JOURNAL

Health Services Insights

Quality of Health Assistants in Primary Health Centres in Rural Maharashtra, India

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Health Services Insights 2013:6 9-13

Short Report

Published on 07 Apr 2013

DOI: 10.4137/HSI.S11226


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Abstract

Introduction: Health assistants are important functionaries of the primary health care system in India. Their role is supervision of field-based services among other things. A quality assurance mechanism for these health assistants is lacking. The present study was undertaken with the objectives of developing a tool to assess the quality of health assistants in primary health centres (PHCs) and to assess their quality using this tool.

Methodology: Health assistants from three PHCs in the Wardha district of India were observed for a year using a tool developed from primary health care management Aavancement program modules. Data was collected by direct observation, interview, and review of records for quality of activities.

Results: Staff strength of health assistants was 87.5%. None of the health assistants were clear about their job descriptions. A supervisory schedule for providing supportive supervision to auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) was absent; most field activities pertaining to maternal and child health received poor focus. Monthly meetings lacked a clear agenda, and comments on quality improvement of services provided by the ANMs were missing.

Conclusion: Continuous training with sensitization on quality issues is required to improve the unsatisfactory quality.



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