Healthcare for Indian industries

The ever increasing number of industries and factories for production of goods with respect to meet the ever increasing demands and therefore surging number of workers, skilled, unskilled, semi-skilled working there to earn a basic living. But the matter of concern here is that whether the working conditions there, is safe for them or their lives prone to many dangers related to healthcare!!

In India, over 100 million people migrate, typically from rural to urban areas and mostly for work in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs. Living in unhygienic and crowded conditions in the cities, and working in hazardous and physically demanding occupations, their bodies (their only source of livelihoods) are affected prematurely. Not a surprise then that they are highly vulnerable to life threatening injuries, as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV infection, malaria and diarrheal diseases. In a study conducted by Safe in India, 1,000 workers in the automobile industry in Manesar, Haryana lose their fingers each year, while working in factories that produce parts of the glitzy automobiles.

Their occupation further predisposes them to dangerous and fatal conditions such as silicosis. Their vulnerability is compounded by poor nutrition status. A study revealed that half of all migrant workers, working in the factories or at construction sites in Ahmedabad, are malnourished. Living and working in perpetual stressful conditions and poverty, with limited social networks, away from home, their minds are affected adversely as well.

When faced with an injury or illness, these workers are unable to seek unfamiliar and unresponsive health services from the government. Most migrant workers will fail to seek care, or continue working until they can get care, returning home only if the disease reaches an advanced stage. Women workers are not able to access even simple preventive health services, such as care during pregnancy. In a survey conducted among agricultural workers who migrate from southern Rajasthan to Idar tehsil of Banaskatha district of Gujarat, not a single pregnant woman had received antenatal care. None of the children were immunized.

It is clear that healthcare in India does not reach the large and vulnerable population group of migrants, their families and communities; and the reason why a lot it seems to be done and a long way to go for this atleast for these people who are playing with their lives to serve us!!!

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