The stress of handling domestic chores as well as taking care of patients at the workplace, fear of contracting coronavirus infection, ill-fitting PPEs, lack of transportation and sanitation facilities are some of the issues that women 'COVID-19 warriors' faced while discharging their duty during the pandemic, especially during the lockdown, says a study.
The study, titled "A study of gender-based issues on field of Corona warriors amid lockdown", was conducted by Palghar district Disaster Management Cell chief Vivekanand Kadam and Sarika Kadam. It was recently published in the National Institute of Disaster Management Journal.
Although the survey was carried out in the Palghar district, those who conducted it feel that these problems were found elsewhere also. The study talks about various problems that women coronavirus warriors faced during the pandemic and also gives suggestions to resolve some of these issues.
It says that the women COVID-19 warriors have to juggle between home and the workplace. They have to take care of the children and elderly people in the family and also discharge their duty on the professional front, which gives them mental stress.
Manpower crunch at the workplace adds to their woes. The fear of contracting coronavirus infection is always there in mind during the duty. They also have to face issues related to menstruation and the unavailability of sanitary pads at the workplace.
These women also found it difficult to have meals on time and to take rest due to irregular work schedules. Ill-fitting PPE kits, lack of proper transportation facilities and financial problems are some more issues they have to face, the study says.
The study was conducted under the guidance of a research scholar from Sri Lanka, Madhavi Malalgoda Ariyabandu. The study not only states the problems but tries to find solutions to them. It says sanitary pads should be made available at the workplace to the female health workers during work, especially in villages, and a separate changing or washroom should be set up.
Women should be made part of designing the fieldwork for female health workers. They should be given at least two hours in the day for relaxation from work, it says.
Making customised PPEs for women warriors is also necessary as many female doctors and nurses have to wear ill-fitting PPEs, which becomes all the more difficult during menstruation, the study says.
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)