The daily death rate in India from coronavirus is still on a rise. Health workers on the front lines against this disease are disproportionately affected. In a report titled, ‘Occupational Hazards in Healthcare Settings, A Study of Invisibilised Frontline Workers in Bengaluru’, Dr Sylvia Karpagam writes that on one end of Indian healthcare system are highly paid male doctors mostly from dominant caste groups, while on the other end are exploited workers, mostly dalit, relegated to sanitation and waste disposal. Advocate Maitreyi Krishnan has also been investigating how workers at the lower rungs of the healthcare system are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. She represents All India Central Council of Trade Unions and examines labour law violations.
Advocate Maitreyi and Dr Sylvia take a broad view of frontline warriors engaged in health and sanitation work including crematorium workers, Asha workers, garbage collectors and cleaning staff within hospitals. In this episode, our reporter Suryatapa Mukherjee speaks to both of them about the experiences of these workers in this pandemic.