[Prelims 2020][Difference] ASHA, Anganwadi Worker (AWW) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM)

There are three different cadres of community health workers in India:

  • Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA),
  • Anganwadi Worker (AWW) and,
  • Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM).

These community health workers play a pivotal role in the promotion of reproductive health services and family planning, antenatal care during pregnancy, skilled care for childbirth, immunization etc.

Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)
  • ASHAs are an all-female cadre of community health workers constituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare under the National Rural Health Mission in 2006.
  • ASHA is the first port of call for any health-related demands of deprived sections of the population, especially women and children.

The aim of the ASHA is to:

  • create awareness on health and its social determinants
  • mobilize the community towards local health planning
  • facilitate access to existing health services.
Anganwadi Worker (AWW)
  • The Anganwadi worker is a functionary of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) who manages the Anganwadi (a type of child and mother care centre established as a part of the ICDS).
  • The main function of AWW is providing supplementary nutrition, non-formal pre-school education, nutrition and health education for mothers / pregnant mothers, nursing mothers and to adolescent girls, immunization, assisting in the implementation and execution of Kishori Shakti Yojana, and family planning.
  • The AWW is supported by a part-time assistant, called an Anganwadi Helper (AWH)
Auxiliary Nurse Midwife
  • Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) is a female health worker who is based at a health sub-centre or Primary health centre. They are recognised as essential frontline workers under the National Rural Health Mission.
  • The ANM cadre was created in the 1950s to focus on basic maternal health including midwifery and child health.
  • Later, the ANMs became designated as multipurpose workers (MPW) and their responsibilities included family planning, immunisation, infectious disease prevention and care, in addition to maternal health and childbirth.
Comparison between ASHA, AWW and ANM
SchemeNational Rural Health Mission by Ministry of  Health and Family WelfareIntegrated Child Development Scheme by Ministry of Women and Child DevelopmentNational Rural Health Mission by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
EligibilityA woman resident of the village married/ widowed/ divorced, preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years, with formal education till class 8A woman (18- 44 years) from the local village and acceptable in the local community Female, 24 months inclusive of six months practical training. The minimum age for training should be 17 and max. 35 years.
Based atVillageAnganwadi centreHealth sub-centre or PHC
Coverage1 ASHA for 1000 population1 Anganwadi worker for a population of about 1000 peoplethe population of about 5,000 at sub-centres

and population of 30,000 at PHCs

FunctionsFirst port of call for any health-related demands of deprived sections of the populationProvides supplementary nutrition, non-formal pre-school education etc.


Guides ASHA in performing activities such as organizing Health Days


Multipurpose workers


Guides ASHAs on aspects of health care.


motivates ASHAs to bring beneficiaries to health institutions for immunization, institutional deliveries, family planning etc.

IncentivesReceives performance-based remuneration for a range of interventions“honorary workers” who receive a monthly honorariumSalaries paid through national health budgets




This article is a part of the Series of Articles Important for Prelims 2020. To see the full list of articles, visit this page.
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