Bihar Government is distributing free condoms to migrant labourers who have recently returned to the state and have completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. The govt is doing so in an effort to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the state.
According to news agency PTI, 8.77 lakh migrant workers have already left the quarantine facilities, while 5.30 lakh are still being held in various facilities across the state.
"Migrant labourers are going to their homes after completing the 14-day institutional quarantine. Since there are chances of unwanted pregnancies, we properly counsel them and give them tools (such as condoms) to avoid unwanted pregnancy," a senior Health Department official told the news agency.
The official, who works at the State Health Society which is in charge of family planning, also said that distribution of condoms has nothing to do with COVID-19 pandemic and is purely a family planning measure. "As a health professional, it is our responsibility to control the population. We have been taking the support of our health partner Care India to implement the initiative," added the official.
According to the official, there has been a rise in unwanted pregnancies across the world because of the coronavirus outbreak and it was because of this that the Bihar government has decided to take this measure. The govt will keep distributing free condoms till the quarantine facilities are functional.
Health coordinators are distributing two packets of condoms at quarantine centres, while ASHA workers have been handing them out during door-to-door while screening people in home quarantine.
An official of Care India said the NGO is providing technical support to the health department in this initiative.
The quarantine centres are likely to shut doors by June 15 by which time almost all migrant workers wanting to return will have reached the state, official sources said.
(Inputs from PTI)