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Opinion: Coronavirus Has Waged War On The World. What Now?

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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.

While on one side we are dreaming to accomplish life on Mars but the other hand, a microorganism that can’t be even seen from a naked eye is on the verge of killing humanity. Quite contradictory, right? Our world war is against Covid-19 and the weapon to kill the virus isn’t a nuclear bomb but actually isolation, cleanliness and maintenance of hygiene.

Prime Minister Modi recently addressed the nation and his emphasis and effort to wake up the nation were impressive. He also mentioned about World War 1 and 2 in the addressing.

1) Social distancing is the need of the hour and should be a must for all. Don’t panic now. Be vigilant, avoid going out of the home. Social measures include limiting large groups coming together, closing buildings and cancelling public events.

2)  PM also appealed to the nation about the new “Janta Curfew” means the ‘people’s curfew, where on March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm,  all Indians should be in complete isolation and stay at home.
3) PM also requested not to assume that COVID -19 is not going to impact India.
4) People aged 60 should stay indoors and avoid venturing out of their home because they can be the most affected ones, especially the ones who are already suffering from health problems like diabetes, heart problems etc.

Noida Sector 121/Photo: Aaditya Kanchan

5) Do not hoard supplies, don’t indulge in panic buying as the government is taking all necessary steps to ensure the availability of essential products milk and food etc.
6) Stay away from rumours especially fake news, have belief on good sources like WHO(World health organisation).
7) Do not overload medical facilities, avoid hospitals for routine checkups and treatments. Even postpone avoidable surgeries.

Doctor appeals to stay at home. Source: Social media.

8) Do not cut salaries of support staff like maid, drivers and daily wage workers for their absence from work.
9) Salute and epress gratitude to all those who are working hard round the clock to overcome the crisis situation like Police, Doctors,  security, media etc on Sunday at 5 PM.

A delivery man wearing a mask for his protection/ Photo: Aaditya Kanchan

Wear a mask when it is required like when you are coughing or sneezing. So that the particles don’t spread further to anyone else.

A golden point: PM’s speech included two works: Sanyam(Resolve) and Sankalp (Restraint) which means to have sheer determination to stop the virus from spreading and having patince required to stay at home and quarantine.

What Should We Learn Now?

The new epicentre of COVID -19 is  Europe, especially Italy, Spain. The last 24 hrs completely changed the entire scenario for the entire world when 368 people died in Italy itself. Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez locked down the entire country to save themselves from the fatal virus. Donald Trump declared an emergency in the USA. Italy saw its worst scenes as of now where people couldn’t even bury the dead bodies who died because of the virus.

We should learn from Italy to not repeat their mistakes. WHO appreciated India’s efforts for an awareness campaign and the war against COVID but it doesn’t mean the war is over now. India is on stage 2, there are chances there will be more lives at stake. Therefore, action by both centre and states governments were good. Many schools and colleges have also closed are avoiding public gatherings.

The next couple of weeks are really crucial for India. Many people ran away from the hospital and isolation wards when tested positive. Few of the states declared a complete shutdown to public transport like Punjab and Maharashtra. Markets are closed in Pune as well. Delhi government has closed all gyms, restaurants and swimming pools. The situation can be worse as the time passes as cases are rising in each every state.

We have seen the cases in the Leh which is at the extreme top, and in southern states like Kerala, Tamil Naidu as well. It became even more shocking for India when an army officer tested positive. The virus has a vast reach to even the Canada’ PM wife, the Vice President of  Iran, Health minister of UK etc.

Italy has just surpassed China in deaths as well, making it the world’s deadliest centre of the outbreak.  The worldwide deaths have crossed the margin of 10, 000. This depicts the seriousness of the issue. The number of deaths in Italy reached 3,405 on Thursday, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said at a news conference — 156 more than China’s toll, which, according to Johns Hopkins University, stands at 3,249.

Good news is that in the last 48 hrs China’s Wuhan ( the origination city) didn’t have any new case of the Virus.
Italy has become the deadliest centre of outbreak/Representational image.
Sports events have gotten postponed and cancelled too. Even the IPL might get cancelled. If IPL doesn’t take place, BCCI  would bear a  huge loss of 3800 crores. When it comes to Tokyo Olympics 2020, there are high chances of it getting postponed. US President Donald Trump has asked to conduct the Olympics next year. Euro CUP has been postponed next year. French Open has been postponed too, and so has India Open.
Body temperature being scanned by guards in Noida. Photo: Aaditya Kanchan

Although PM Modi covers the crux when it comes to the World economy and Indian economy, the situation is not good.  These days the stocks market is crashing on a daily basis like SENSEX, NIFTY 50 AND NASDAQ ETC. Therefore, a step like closing share markets could save us, because day by day, many investors in this country lose a huge amount.

What about those suspects who are continuously running from the hospitals? Even others’ lives are being put at risk now.

How will daily wages labourer deal with this situation, until formalisation doesn’t happen and their rights are not honoured?  How can we imagine them to quarantine themselves? What about those Indian students who are outside, like in Singapore and Mauritius, for their education? They are continuously seeking help from the government.

Image: Aaditya Kanchan
A salute to all security guards, doctors, nurses, media workers as well. Let’s appreciate them for they have been working 24 hours in this pandemic situation.

Created by Aaditya Kanchan

Stay safe, be alert, take care .
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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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