She wore flowers in her hair and carried magic secret in her eyes
A Pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region. e.g.,. multiple continents or worldwide affecting a substantial no. of people.
Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is word that, if misused can cause unreasonable fear or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and deaths.
COVID-19, Noval corona virus, its called so because nothing can be predicted about its features and symptoms has its origin from live animal market known as Wet market in part of Asia, such as “Huanan” seafood market in Wuhan China. These wet markets are important risk factor for Zoonotic disease spread.
As per WHO, India is world’s most depressing country and during such Pandemic, as per UN Survey 60% women faces stress in every dimension like: Psychosocial impact, Physical health impact, Ecomic impact, such is because of many reason e.g.,. repeated media images of severely ill people, dead bodies, coffins, frequent misinformation limited access to mental health.
As per COI, Article 21 right to live is the part of basic fundamental rights but this Pandemic has laid catastrophic secondary impact on health of women and girls around the world, has resulted in further cut off of women from sexual and reproductive health services threatening sharp rises in maternal and mental mortality.
We can learn significant lesson from the west Africa Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016 during such biggest threat to women’s and girl’s lives was not Ebola virus, but the shutdown of routine health services and people’s fear of going to health facilities where they could get infected thousands more lives were lost when safe delivery, neonatal and family planning services become inaccessible due to outbreak.
Right now we are witnessing the same dynamic on much larger scale.
As sexual and reproductive healthcare is essential healthcare:-
Sexual and reproductive health needs are often neglected in the midst of an emergency and Covid-19 has been no different. In March,
WHO issued interim guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak, which include advice to prioritise services related to reproductive health and make efforts to avert maternal and child morbidity and mortality.
Some sexual and reproductive health services, such as contraception and safe abortion care, are often seen as non-essential or even illegitimate. These services have been highly politicised, making them all more likely to be deprioritised during a crisis as we are seeing now.
At International level, US is the most recent example of how US policies intended to limit access to abortion around the world actually have for wider public health impact.
Since, the Covid-19 pandemic began, thousands of certain providing sexual and reproductive health services have shutdown, and more closures are predicted. A study Guttmacher Institute predicts closures could eliminate as much as 80% of these services including contraception and safe abortion care.
Study has shown that even 10% cut would mean some 15 million Additional unintended pregnancies, more than 3 million additional unsafe abortion and twenty-eight thousands additional maternal deaths.
Travels Bans, Lockdowns and Movements restrictions compound the danger e.g.,. In J&K, many pregnent women have Struggled to find Transport to hospital at night after curfew. People were scared following news reports of a drivers who was stopped and brutally beaten by police while during a women labour to health centre.
“Tu gul hai tujae Sukhna nhi, Rukna nhi
Hai johar tujmae kamal kae To hargiz tujae jukna nhi,
Gir kar phir sar uthna hai tujae, tu sawera hai, sada raat nhi”
( Sumera Naz)
Optimism:- Various steps are required to be taken following the countries that are recognised as having managed the crisis best like Germany, New Zealand, Taiwan, Norway, Denmark having women as their leaders and are top ranker in Democracy index by economist intelligence unit (EIU).
Same Indian President in his budget speech (2019-20) stated that if women no. in parliament would be increased above 33%, This will change the political map of India
SDG-3, good health and well being , SDG-5, gender equality, SDG-8, Decent work and economic growth upto 2030, all such steps could help to establish strong foundation of these women.
My own research topic “20th century Indian women Novelist:- An Antropocene Era and Ecofeminism” in which I am trying to potray the link between nature and women both are birth givers and their destruction means destruction of Biosphere.
Novels by Indian women novelist like Vandana Shiva, Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai, Kamal Mark Andaya and their works like Vedic ecology, God of Small Things, Fire on the Mountain and A Handful of Rice all such have beautifully connected health of women with nature and vice versa.
Way forward: We should follow many suicide prevention policies by China, Manodarpan Part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhyian to provide Psychological Support and counselling to girls students.
“A women is a full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.
By: - Sumera Naz
Doctoral fellow APJ University