Published in: 2020
The Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) has been supporting the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) in achieving total sanitation in the state, and are demonstrating innovations in two model urban locations – Tiruchirappali Corporation, and Periyanaicken-palayam (PNP) and Narasimhanaicken-palayam (NNP) town panchayats. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is supporting the GoTN through TNUSSP.
One of the key focus areas of TNUSSP is improving the occupational health and safety of sanitation workers, who play a crucial role in the sanitation chain. The nature of their work exposes them to various occupational and environmental hazards, putting their health at serious risk. While existing policies, laws and government programmes emphasise the importance of regular health screening and vaccination, the reality is often different. Though comprehensive preventive healthcare of sanitation workers is mandated under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Rules (2013), availability and their access to healthcare is negligible. While sanitation workers in larger urban local bodies (ULB) manage to receive sporadic healthcare, those in smaller towns and informal sectors are often neglected. The COVID-19 pandemic has further jeopardised their already-vulnerable health and safety.
In an effort to change the status quo, TNUSSP organised regular health camps for both formal and informal sanitation workers and their family members in PNP and NNP, in collaboration with private trust hospitals. The health camps were gradually extended to the nearby Veerapandi, Gudalur and Karamadai town panchayats.
This report documents the experiences of the 11 health camps organised over the last three years in Coimbatore district and proposes a way forward to institutionalising regular health camps that specifically address the needs and risks faced by sanitation workers.
TNUSSP (2020). Provisioning of Health Camps for Sanitation Workers. TNUSSP
English Import to Sanitation Workers Platform
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