This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Aishwarya Pawar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

To Tide This Deadly Pandemic, We Need Science- Not Superstition And Jugaad!

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

Trigger Warning: Death and Covid Trauma

When I was a law student, I had a subject called ‘Environmental Law’ in my fourth year. Environmental law basically deals with the laws to protect the environment. So, on the very first day of my lecture, Prof. KC sir made it very clear to us, that ‘environment law is all about inculcating and implementing the values and the principles of environment, it just cannot be in theory’.

Recently, my friend’s dad passed away due to Covid-19 related issues, his name was Prof. Sidramappa Itti and he was the Principal of SG Balekundri Institute of Technology Belagavi. This man was known for his principles. When he was a Principal of KLE Chikkodi College, he took an initiative and went to college by bicycle. This is what when my Prof in law school meant about inculcating the principles. We need such people in our society. Approximately, 15-20 students of that college started coming from bicycles after being inspired by Prof.Itti.

Analysis: Investors straining to look beyond India's COVID-19 crisis |  Reuters
Survival has become tougher than ever. Representative image only.

Now, you see this is what change means, it does not matter whether the change is small or big, what matters is that there was a change he could bring. And, as there was no pre-planning about how to effectively control the second wave of Covid-19 and then there is a lack of management that we are witnessing, owing to which we are losing such inspiring personalities. We are able to witness that in many countries, the Covid-19 health crisis is unfolding in tandem with ongoing environmental crises too.

Continued environmental degradation will eventually end humankind.  Regardless of their mistake, we have witnessed the death of lakhs of people. These are the people who have worked for the society even after knowing that the government and the society they were working for did not have their rescues planned. We also saw the recent death of a social activist named ‘Dr. Mahavir Narwal’ due to Covid-19. Now, this was the person who believed that this country belonged to us all. These were the people in whose hands our futures were safe and we are at times that we cannot afford to lose such people. The future of an entire generation is at stake.

Coronavirus in India Highlights: Sputnik V Light to be launched soon; Delhi  reports 8,506 new Covid-19 cases — lowest in over a month - The Financial  Express
We need science to guide us. Representative image only.

In the year 2020 WHO had also provided us with RRCE Covid-19 preparedness and response. Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) is an essential component of our health emergency preparedness and response action plan. This plan would have been useful if we were to utilize this, this plan also included the two-way communication between the health authorities and at-risk populations in response to Covid-19 but alas, our leaders were planning for election rallies.

There’s so much that we have to understand especially in the Covid times.

  • Firstly, our policies must be guided by the weight of science. Now why I am saying this is because of the tweet made by our Union Health Minister wherein he advised to have chocolate with 70% of cocoa to get rid of Covid-19 related stress. And then there was MLA’s who prescribed cow dung for Covid-19. Where is this all leading to? India’s top health officials had to come forward and specifically warn them against using the cow dung as a treatment for Covid-19. You see, we need science to guide us, there is no time to lose.
  • Secondly, to support public understanding and scientific literacy, Scientists must be effective and energetic communicators, they must be able to clearly convey the message.
  • And finally, we must commit ourselves to health equity, meaning fair access to healthcare professionals, a safe and healthy environment regardless of their background or circumstances.

Remember, we are in the midst of the biggest crisis ever seen after Partition. We are losing our loved ones and that we are left with the hardest choices, it is this time that we have to act honestly and bravely. These are the times where even one neglected act can cost a life. Think and act.


You must be to comment.

More from Aishwarya Pawar

Similar Posts

By Accountability Initiative

By India Development Review (IDR)

By Nupur Pattanaik

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below