Achieving Sustainability Towards Healthcare Access (ASTHA) aims to increase youth employment through training and developing community paramedics and ensuring sustained high-quality community paramedic services.
Massive shortage of skilled healthcare providers in rural communities is a crude reality for Bangladesh, impeding the progress towards attaining universal health coverage (UHC). There are alarmingly 0.66 healthcare providers per 1000 population in the country while the WHO recommendation is 2.28 per 1000 population. Despite this huge gap in workforce, the burgeoning youth population (15 to 25 years) in Bangladesh is suffering from acute unemployment and underemployment. According to ILO, almost 2.2 million youth enters the job markets every year without attaining relevant and transferable skills to compete in a very dynamic and growing national economy.
ASTHA, formerly known as TARSAN was introduced in 2011 to address this gap in health sector of Bangladesh. Jointly funded by Novartis and Swisscontact, the project aims to develop skilled Community Paramedics (CPs) and improve access to quality healthcare services at rural level.
As a result of the project’s previous efforts, the CP Training Program is now an established 2-year course offered by private and public training institute and governed by Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council (BNMC) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
ASTHA Phase II is the latest phase of ASTHA - a four-year project (2019 – 2022) designed to facilitate the further improvement and popularisation of CP services in rural Bangladesh. It promotes the CP profession that assures high-quality Basic Primary Healthcare services including Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning. ASTHA II focuses on ensuring CPs employment, business and professional viabilities and continuous medical education.
The 4 core areas of intervention include:
Results previous phase 2015-2018
2019 - 2022