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Coronavirus Outbreak: Are We United To Battle The Pandemic?

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is officially named as COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan, China, has affected 198 Countries & Territories around the world. The rapid increase of the virus has affected 5,42,385 people and 24,368 deaths so far across the globe.

India received the first coronavirus case on January 30, 2020, and as per the report till March 27, 2020, 863 cases and 20 death cases have been registered.

Indian Government had put the entire nation in a lockdown till April 14, 2020, amid an outbreak of Coronavirus in India. After this move, all the transportation facilities had been shut down due to which migrant labourers across the country have been facing difficulty in reaching their home, and they are bound to walk miles on the highway. Labours are migrating as they don’t have work to do, and without work, they get penniless and are unable to buy food for themselves. The Indian Government has provided support to migrant workers by providing community kitchens and food deliveries. By taking this move, is the Government able to stop the migrant workers in their respective cities?

Representational image.

On the urge of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, “Janta Curfew” was imposed in the entire nation. He also requested to show gratitude by clapping, ringing bells, or by beating plates at 5:00 pm for 5 minutes for Doctors, Administration and People who are helping the country in this crucial time. On the one hand, the whole nation appreciated them, and on the other hand, Doctors and Airline Staff were tortured by the neighbours and were asked to vacate their rented home. There is no use of showing gratitude if people behave contumaciously.

Amid coronavirus outbreak, the North-East citizens of India are facing Xenophobic behaviour. In Delhi’s Vijay Nagar, a man spat on Manipuri woman and called her “Corona.” In Gujrat, girls staying in society are pressured by the residents to vacate their flats. Why would North-Eastern people tolerate xenophobic behaviour?

In Jammu & Kashmir, the cases of coronavirus increased to 14, and amidst this chronic situation, the government has extended the restrictions on internet speed until March 26, 2020, to “prevent misuse of social media application” following “recent terror activities.” Due to the poor internet connection, the people of J&K are unable to get reliable information on coronavirus. Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development & Monitoring Department of J&K tweeted to take safety measures and stay indoors. But how will these people take safety measures if they can’t access information on coronavirus because the Government restricted internet access?

With the rapid increase of the coronavirus cases around the world, the economic crisis is at its peak. The Dow Jones and the FTSE have seen the most noticeable one day decline on March 19, 2020, in the Stock Market since 1987. Apart from this, Travel Industry, Airlines, and Hotels & Restaurants impacted a lot and are at high risk.

In the middle of economic crises due to coronavirus pandemic, the Air Quality Index (AQI) has improved a lot. After the declaration of lockdown, there is a decline in the level of nitrogen oxide and the pollutant produced due to combustion of fuel. The factories are also locked, due to which the emission of carbon dioxide gets decreased. It seems nature is cleaning harmful pollutants by themselves.

In India, Maharashtra, followed by Kerala, are the most affected cities, and in this pandemic situation, the initiative taken by the Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan is highly appreciable. Kerala CM has announced a financial package of Rs. 20K crore and free rice for one month. The efforts are taken by the CMs of other states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujrat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur and Mizoram, and Delhi (UT) for their people is exceptionally perceptible.

The announcement made by the Government of providing Rs. 1.7 cr. Economic relief will help people a lot during this recurring situation. Apart from this, the initiative taken by NGOs and Delhi Police for the poor people by providing necessities and education on the precaution to be made in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak will help the nation to fight against COVID-19. Help the Government and the Nation to fight against coronavirus by staying at home.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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