By Flarantxa Pereira, #COVIDActionCollab
April 3, 2022
While the country continues to recover from the after-effects of the economic lockdown, many workers, especially women, stayed back in their villages with little or no access to information about vaccination. The pandemic has affected both the life and livelihoods of the workforce. Many have lost their jobs, while others fear returning to their workplaces. Many didn’t have access to vaccinations due to their vulnerability and in some cases hesitancy.
To address these challenges the #COVIDActionCollab (CAC) in partnership with VF Foundation, Sattva, LabourNet, Taaras Coalition, and more have been organizing vaccination camps for factory workers and their families through its initiative COVID-Free Workplaces. Through this initiative, CAC has been organizing counseling sessions to address hesitancy which continues to be a persistent issue when trying to reach the last mile. One of the ways this was addressed was through the factory management itself who actively addressed concerns and encouraged its workers to get the jab.
With the support of its partners, CAC has been able to organize vaccination camps at factories, industrial workplaces, and residential areas where the workforce resides. These camps are equipped with the necessary facilities i.e. registration assistance, pre, and post-vaccine counseling sessions, and NCD testing. The vaccination camps set up near the residences of the factory workers help the family members who stay 6-10 km away from the industrial areas get vaccinated. One of the highly dependable groups getting vaccinated are women, who comprise 80-85% of those receiving the vaccination. Their family’s dependency on them makes them more prone to contracting the virus.
Informal workers, especially those who work at garment and apparel factories, are known to have incomplete and improper documentation, which makes them susceptible to losing the benefits of schemes provided by the state. Accessing codes and OTPs is a challenge for factory management to inoculate workers with no proper documentation. CAC, along with partner organizations, stepped up and supported the workers with documentation and vaccination through several social protection schemes.
CAC has been building the capacity of the factory management to empower the system to make continuous efforts and ensure the implementation of COVID-19 protocols and guidelines in factory spaces. One of the most important features of COVID-Free Workplaces is assessing factory workers for co-morbid conditions and screening Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), such as anemia, hypertension, diabetes, and other lung-related issues.
The workforce continues to be vulnerable and at risk, ensuring their safety is essential. Providing them with the tools required ensures that they will #BounceForward.
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COVIDActionCollab is not merely an aggregation of partners, but is an aggregation of capacities, through which we have developed key high impact initiatives. We have drawn upon our one year’s experience at CAC and engagement with our large constituency of partners to put together a menu of initiatives for funders/investors to support which will save lives and livelihoods, and enable vulnerable communities to 'bounce forward’. Support these initiatives to build resilient communities