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Community Action for Health

The National Health Mission (NHM) is a flagship programme of the Government of India that included community processes and creation of public platforms for intensive community engagement as a cornerstone of health system strengthening. 


Community Action for Health (CAH) is one of the key strategies of the NHM, which places people at the centre of the process of ensuring that the health needs and rights of the community are being fulfilled. It allows communities to participate and regularly monitor the progress of the NHM schemes and interventions in their areas, thus contributing to the strengthening of health services and ‘Bringing Public into Public Health’.


A committee called the Advisory Group on Community Action (AGCA) was constituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to provide guidance on community processes initiatives particularly related to accountability in 2005. The AGCA comprises eminent public health experts and the Population Foundation of India (PFI) hosts its Secretariat.


With support from the MoHFW, the AGCA guided the implementation of a pilot on CAH in 36 districts across nine states between 2007 and 2009. The implementation of CAH showed the following outcomes: greater awareness in the community on health entitlements; improvements in the coverage of health services; increased availability of medicines and laboratory services in health facilities; and reductions in outside prescriptions and demands for informal payments by the health providers. 


Led by the MoHFW, Government of India, CAH is currently being implemented in around 2,02,162 villages in 353 districts across 22  states of India.A team based at the AGCA Secretariat now provides the following technical support to the states:

  • Develop capacities of state level institutions to strengthen and scale up implementation of CAH processes.
  • Facilitate state level visioning and planning exercises, including development of State NHM Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs).
  •  Develop/adapt guidelines, manuals and communication materials.
  • Strengthen grievance redressal and accountability mechanisms.
  • Undertake programme implementation reviews, including participation in the Common Review Mission (CRM) and fact finding missions on important issues.
  • Regular mentoring and guidance to states on programme implementation.

The AGCA is currently providing technical support to 25 state governments /union territories*. For more information, see www.nrhmcommunityaction.org

* Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.