Supporting sanitation workers during Covid-19


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  • Budding WASH researcher, especially interested in governance, public policy, finance, politics and social justice. Architect, Urban & Regional planner by training, Ex. C-WAS, India. I am a patient person :)
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Supporting sanitation workers during Covid-19

As we all understand, besides health care workers, though not in as much limelight and discussion, sanitation workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic. This recent piece by Abhinav Akhilesh, Meera Mehta and Zara Juneja suggests  ways of supporting sanitation workers through this difficult time 
1. Provide PPE 
2. Provide financial support 
3. Local support - reducing workload, monitoring, etc.
4. Provide access to food and boarding facilities. 

Some of these, especially provision of PPE should be given at any time, but in developing countries it may take a pandemic to make it a reality.  While 4 is Pandemic specific as going back to families would risk them as well. This also needs to be seen in light of stories of health care workers being asked to vacate rental apartments. 

After Meera Mehta shared this piece on twitter, there was an interesting conversation that followed. 

In light of this piece and the conversation on twitter, some questions of interest are:  
 - Are there other ways of supporting sanitation workers?
 - How are sanitation workers in your city/province/country  being supported?
 - If services are provided by private players, do contractual arrangements obligate contractors to continue to provide service and support  workers or can they refuse?

The third is particularly important in my opinion as this risk had not been considered earlier. The Disaster Management Act in India for example also doesn't deal with such a scenario.

Please feel free to add questions if you feel the need

Paresh Chhajed-Picha
Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @Sparsh85
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