About-Community Action for Health
Community Action for Health* is a key strategy of the National Health Mission (NHM), which places people at the centre of the process to ensure their health needs and rights are being fulfilled. It allows them to monitor the progress of the NHM interventions regularly in their areas resulting in active community participation and contribution towards strengthening health services.
The process involves (a) formation and strengthening of Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs) at the village level, and Planning and Monitoring Committees (PMC) at the PHC, block, district and state levels (b) creating community awareness on NHM entitlements, roles and responsibilities of the service providers (c) training of VHSNC and PMC members (d) undertaking community level enquiry to monitor health services (e) organizing Jan Samwaad (public dialogue) for advocacy with key stakeholders to highlight gaps and find solutions (f) follow up action and planning to address issues emerging from the community level enquiry and Jan Samwaad.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) constituted the Advisory Group on Community Action (AGCA) in 2005 to provide guidance on community action initiatives under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) at the national level. The AGCA comprises eminent public health professionals associated with major NGOs. The Population Foundation of India (PFI) hosts the Secretariat for the AGCA.
The AGCA with support from the MoHFW guided the implementation of a pilot on community action for health in 1,620 villages across 36 districts in nine states (Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu) between 2007 and 2009. On completion of the pilot, the AGCA continued technical assistance to states to initiate and scale up the component.
With support from the MoHFW, a team based at the AGCA Secretariat now provides technical assistance to the states, which includes:
· Build capacities of state-level institutions to strengthen and scale up implementation
· Develop and adapt guidelines, tools and communication materials
· Support states initiate and strengthen accountability mechanisms under NHM - grievance redressal, public display of health service guarantees and citizen’s health rights charters
· Undertake periodic implementation reviews, sharing of key lessons and challenges,
· Inputs in formulation of community action component of the State NHM Program Implementation Plan (PIP).
The AGCA currently provides technical support to 25 states/union territories.
* Earlier known as Community Based Monitoring and Planning (CBMP).