Bhopal: In a novel move to fillip the health services in the rural belts of the state, the Madhya Pradesh government has come up with a project to provide bicycles to more than 50,000 ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) offering their services in 52,000 villages. For the purpose, the state government will hand over a fund of Rs 2,000 to each of the ASHA activists.

With the aim to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate in deep remote areas, the state government had launched the concept of ASHA activists. Through this project, the state government also intended to improve the health services being provided to the villagers.

Going a step further in this context, the state government has decided to facilitate each activist with cycle and train them to ride it. In addition, Asha activists have also been made accountable for the health projects in rural belts, for which there is a provision to pay them a definite sanctioned amount.

Under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), each ASHA activist is being paid Rs 350 for institutional deliveries in rural belts and Rs 200 for institutional deliveries in urban areas. For prenatal and post delivery check-ups on Village Health and Nutrition Day, ASHA activists are paid Rs 150.

ASHA are given additional allowances for post delivery tests, examining the mother and child after delivery, for HIV test of pregnant women, malaria-fever tests, for the tests and treatment of malaria and falciparum malaria, for tests of leprosy patients and to send TB patients for examination.

It is noteworthy, that ASHA activists who virtually play the role of a doctor in rural belts are the lowest unit of the Health Department in the state.