The Bihar government is distributing free condoms and contraceptives to migrant labourers after being discharged from the mandatory 14-day quarantine for COVID-19. The Bihar State Health Society (BSHS) launched a new campaign to encourage migrant workers towards family planning. ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) healthcare workers and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) have joined the state government's efforts to provide the quarantine returnees with condoms and contraceptives during their door-to-door screening survey.

"At the time of the migrants' discharge from quarantine and isolation centres, the health workers not only give them tips on family planning but also provide packets of condoms, contraceptives and pregnancy kits to them," a BSHS official has said.

Bihar govt distributes free condoms
Bihar govt distributes free condoms

The state government has started the distribution in districts such as Gopalgunj, Jamui, Samastipur, Supaul, Saran, Rohtas and East Champaran. More than 20,000 packets had already been distributed in Gopalgunj district, Gopalgunj civil surgeon T.N. Singh said in a statement.

The initiative is in place to prevent a rise in population. The exercise has been in effect since May 20.

Oversight of migrants' plight

migrant labourers

Even as the state government is taking preventive measures to control the population in the densely populated state. Migrant workers are demanding the government to provide jobs and food grains instead of condoms and contraceptives.

"They couldn't provide us proper food and clean toilets at the quarantine centres but are giving us condom packets as return gifts with a rider to maintain social distance...what more ridicule can the government heap on us," The Hindu quoted a migrant worker as saying.

"The government should distribute foodgrains and generate employment for us rather than condoms and contraceptives," said another migrant.