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Key highlights of COPASAH webinar on Regional Experiences and Voices Reflecting Ground Realities (held on April 24)

Dear Friends, Partners and Associates,


Synthesized learnings from the COPASAH webinar on COVID -19, on the Theme - Regional Experiences and Voices Reflecting Ground Realities held on April 24, 2020.

The presenters highlighted the following key issues that prompted interaction and discussions:

1. Health systems reality check:

  • The result of under-spending on health systems and weakened health systems has surfaced during COVID19 lock down times
  • Well functioning centres are turned into COVID19 Quarantine centres depriving access to other treatments
  • Transgenders, women and other vulnerable people are turned away or cannot access health care
  • Immunisations and Ante-natal care have been stopped

2. Human Rights Violations:

  • The police atrocities and brutalities have been unleashed on the vulnerable labourers and in rural areas
  • In India, torture, lock-up deaths and injuries have been reported due to police brutalities
  • The public health measures have been enforced as criminal prosecutions

3.Vulnerable People:

  • The lockdown has not been thought through for its implications to migrant labourers, daily wage labourers etc. the mighrant labourers about 15 million have been stranded on the roads in India and other countries
  • In all the countries, the poorer populations is working in the informal sector – they increasingly face joblessness, hunger
  • The lock down has imposed additional burden on women as reports of increased domestic violence were mentioned; their burden of feeding children and men in family also is heightened

4. Questioning the assumptions as COVID19 response:

  • Lock down is a period for preparation for getting the health systems ready. However, the assumptions and messages of the government and public health elites needs to be questioned. Some of the issue include the following:
    • Stay at home – assumes that all have homes to stay. Most of the poor are staying in small room size houses, shanties and they are over crowded
    • Wash your hands: this presumes that all have running tap water or supply of water at their door steps. The poor do not have clean and safe drinking water, many walk far distances to fetch water.
    • Online education: presumes all have access to computers and internet, which is not the case for almost all the poorer households across countries where COPASAH has its reach
  • Accountability, Transparency and participation:
    • The discussants and participants raised the point that most of the governments have made use of the lock down to suppress dissent, to increase their authoritarian power, to be more non-transparent and to stifle even existing citizen engagement.

Key messages from the webinar:

  1. The reality has awakened us to the reality of weakened public health system due to prolonged neglect and how it can affect adversely during crisis
  2. It has awakened us to what happens to the most unequal people when the government as ‘one size fits all’ response in situations such as COVID19 pandemic
  3. The assumptions that are underlying the suggestions of public health elites as response to the pandemic, viz. wash hands, stay at home, physical distancing etc. need to be questioned. It does not take into account the reality of the marginalised people.
  4. Governments have not provided basic facilities such as housing, water etc. Do the governments have the right to ask people to adhere to these norms without providing them these basic facilities?
  5. Poverty, water, and other social determinants of health now operate as compounding factors to further marginalise people during the pandemics
  6. Calls for strengthening primary health care, more than ever.

The Webinar ended with saluting health care workers who are at the forefront of facing this crisis. They are at once the victims of the weak public health system and simultaneously  carry on their shoulders the burden of COVID19.

Latin America, CEGSS (Guatemala) team members shared a video message on COVID 19. It can be accessed on:  https://prezi.com/v/mig_ofsqe_gl/

Please do watch out for updates on upcoming COPASAH webinar between May 5-8, 2020 on Practitioners responses to COVID-19 crisis – Global Experiences of reaching out to the Community.


COPASAH Communication Hub Team!  

As different countries across the globe are grappling with COVID -19, COPASAH brings solidarity to all the practitioners and pro-people advocates who are at the forefront defending, tackling, responding to and dealing with this pandemic. COPASAH is proud to engage and associate with the incredible organizations, members and practitioners across different regions of the world- civil society organizations, health care providers including frontline health workers, researchers and academia, professional bodies to mention but few – concerned with the wellbeing of the vulnerable communities and the disadvantaged.

To highlight upon the regional aspects of the COVID -19 pandemic and the efforts being pursued to deal with it, COPASAH in this webinar brings to you regional voices showcasing the ground realities and experiences.




Фискална Транспарентност

Социјална отчетност за родова еднаквост

Човекови права во здравствена заштита

Семејно насилство 

Центар за правна помош

Здравствен информативен центар