Kochi

Living conditions of migrants to undergo major makeover

Primary health care to be made accessible to workers

Aiming for a major makeover of the living conditions of migrant labourers who are here to stay, the district administration in association with the Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KELSA) and Health and Labour departments has embarked on a mission that is likely to change the outlook of the workforce.

Migrants form the majority of workforce at construction sites, restaurants, street food joints, and tailoring centres. They are also employed in the domestic help sector.

The Health Department is in the process of effecting comprehensive changes to rules to make primary healthcare (PHC) facilities accessible to workers from the unorganised sector.

Migrant workers are part of the State’s population, and it is important that their basic health standards get a boost, said Akhil Xavier Manuel, District Migrant Nodal Medical Officer, National Health Mission. Interventions are made at three levels—screening, improving migrants’ living conditions, and naming of migrant link workers.

A major hurdle faced by migrant workers is communication barrier.

Hence, migrant link workers, to be named under an incentive-based scheme, will connect the labourers to service providers in health, education and social service sectors.

Medical camps

The Health Department has been conducting medical camps for the migrant population for over a year now, and the workers are screened for dengue, malaria, TB, hepatitis, VDRL, leprosy, and HIV. Filariasis will be added to the list of diseases to be screened.

Several migrants suffer from dermatitis because of the appalling living conditions, while some face occupational hazards like vertigo, owing to sound pollution in industries like rice mill. Data on problems facing migrants is being prepared, and it will cover their immunisation status too, said Dr. Xavier. The screening of 20,000 workers has already been completed.

Preliminary inspections will be conducted at the PHC level with the help of Health, Local Self Government and Labour departments. Living quarters will be graded in accordance with the facilities available.

Owners of buildings where migrants are accommodated will be told to provide better facilities.

The district team led by the nodal officer, two junior health inspectors, and a co-ordinator will conduct monthly inspections, Dr. Xavier said.

Institutions like the World Health Organisation have acknowledged the programme, Dr. Xavier added.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 6:05:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/living-conditions-of-migrants-to-undergo-major-makeover/article30825077.ece

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