COVID-19 Lockdown: Health Officials in India’s Bihar Give Free Condoms to Returning Labourers

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New Delhi (Sputnik): India has recorded 198,705 positive COVID-19 cases, of which 3,926 are in Bihar. The northern Indian state has witnessed a massive influx of migrant workers returning to their homes from urban areas. In a random sampling, 26% of migrants returning to the state from outside had tested positive.

The Bihar government in India is distributing free condoms to migrant labourers going home after completing a 14-day institutional quarantine and those in home quarantine to prevent unwanted pregnancies, an official said on Tuesday.

While some were speculating links with the spread of the coronovirus during sex, the official entrusted with family planning in the state health society stated that “it is purely a family planning measure and has nothing to do with COVID-19”.

Bihar has recorded 3,926 positive COVID-19 cases, of which 2,002 are active, 1,900 are cured and 24 have died.

A senior health department official said: “Migrant labourers going to their homes after quarantine increase the chances of unwanted pregnancies, we properly counsel them and give them tools (such as condoms) to avoid unwanted pregnancy”.

“As a health professional, it is our responsibility to control the population. We have been taking the support of our health partner NGO Care India to implement the initiative”, the official said while highlighting the surge in pregnancies across the world during the lockdown.

He added that the initiative will continue while the quarantine centres are functioning, which is until 15 June as by that time almost all migrants wanting to return will have reached the state.

Two packets of condoms are being distributed by health coordinators at quarantine centres and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers have been handing them out during door-to-door screening of people in home quarantine.

As per the 2011 census, Bihar is the third most populous state in the country with 104,099,452 people. In May, the United Nations Population Fund projected the possibility of seven million unwanted pregnancies, in case the lockdown lasts for another six months, resulting in a baby boom by next year.

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