Health and Wellbeing of Domestic Helps

Posted by Lachmi Deb Roy on Mon, Sep 12, 2011  
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We all emphasize on the health and maternity leave, but do we ever think of the well-being of those mums who earn their living as domestic workers. We all know that today’s work place has become much more mom-friendly than what it used to be years ago. Today’s qualified moms are offered options like flexible timings, work from home, part-time schemes and even infrastructure like crèches and day-care centres.


One-third of the working population of India consists of women in the agricultural sector and those who work as domestic helps. The Indian legal system has chalked out laws to ensure a healthy environment for working women. For example there is the Minimum Wages Act  (1948) and Maternity benefits Act (1961) and the more recent Unorganised Workers Social Security Act( 2008) which provides health and maternity benefits to those who are registered with the district administration. In spite of all these Acts there are actually health care provisions for these backward working mothers.


Anusha Agarwal, a health and development advocate in New Delhi, conducted a field research on the maternal health condition among domestic maids in cities. Her research mentions about Munni Devi who said that when her child was running fever, she took her child to a government hospital and was asked to pay for the medicines and she did not have money, the medicines were not given to her. Her child died late in the night. So, the obvious question is, then why is that we have government hospitals when it cannot take care of the poor and the needy?



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