Achieving Sustainability Towards Healthcare Access (ASTHA) aims at contributing to the development and expansion of sustainable and high-quality healthcare at the community level by training young adults (50% women) from seven rural districts as skilled health workers. The ASTHA-project will improve the health and living conditions of the local population and, at the same time, address the problem of the high number of un- and underemployed youth in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh suffers from both a shortage and geographic maldistribution of Human Resources for Health. There are only 8.3 health professionals per 10 000 population in Bangladesh, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 44.5 skilled health professionals per 10 000 population. The availability of primary healthcare services and skilled healthcare professionals is very limited in rural areas in particular.
ASTHA, formerly known as TARSAN, started in 2011 to address this gap in Bangladesh’s health sector.
As a result of the project’s previous efforts, the Community Paramedic Training Program is now an established professional training offered by private and public training institutes and governed by the Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Young men and women acquire medical knowledge and specialised competence in the 2-year course for Community Paramedics. Apart from theoretical training with a strong focus on mother-child health, they complete a 6-month internship in a hospital. This qualifies them for diagnosis and treatment of frequently occurring diseases that are not complex. Moreover, the graduates are able to provide professional support during pregnancies and assistance at births.
ASTHA is currently in its second four-year project phase (2019-2022). The project works in the four areas:
ASTHA Phase II (2019 – 2022) is being implemented in seven districts of Bangladesh – Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat and Rangpur in the north, Sunamganj and Sylhet in the north-east and Barguna and Patuakhali in the south.
Results until December 2019:
Results previous phase 2015-2018