Stories

In Nepal, a woman-managed quarantine centre tends to women’s unique needs and recovery


Women wait in a queue to get their temperature checked by staff at WHR's women-managed quarantine facility.
Caption: Mithu Tamang waits in a queue to get her temperature checked by staff at WHR's women-managed quarantine facility.
Photo: UN Women/Ashma Shrestha

Across the globe, many migrants have been waiting to reunite with their families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions to prevent its spread. 

Mithu Tamang, 30, was among more than 300 fellow Nepali migrants stuck in Kuwait for over two months before a chartered flight was arranged to bring them home on 11 June. It was the first flight to land since the national lockdown on 24 March 2020.

The returnees were sent to government-managed quarantine centres across the country. Tamang considers herself lucky to be one of the 47 women placed at a quarantine centre set up by Women for Human Rights (WHR), a national women’s rights organization, in collaboration with the Government of Nepal. UN Women provides personal protective equipment (such as masks, gloves and sanitizers) as well as food supplies for the quarantined residents.

“We are all very happy to be here, as we feel safe,” says Tamang. “All the staff are female and that makes us feel comfortable.”

The Founder of Women for Human Rights, Lily Thapa, said the organization has offered up its office space in 21 districts as quarantine centres. As a starting point, their office in Budanilkantha, Kathmandu, has been transformed into a quarantine centre.

“Initially, we had 21 people in the quarantine centre, including men. [But] it became challenging to manage both men and women in the same quarantine centre, due to their different needs,” explains Thapa. “So, we asked the Government to [approve this as] a women-only quarantine centre with a female security team.”

The centre is fully managed by women. Women for Human Rights provides dignity kits to the residents of the quarantine centre, through an initiative supported by UNFPA. They also facilitate access to women’s shelter for those who are unable to return home.

“I am happy to see women’s rights organizations collaborating with the Government to create safe quarantine spaces for women migrant returnees,” said Valerie Julliand, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal. “I call on the Government to have more dedicated sites or home quarantine facilities for women and vulnerable groups.”

Produced by UN Women. To read the full article originally published on the UN Women website on 9 July 2020, visit: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/7/feature-nepal-woman-managed-quarantine-centre

UN entities involved in this initiative
RCO
UN Resident Coordinator Office
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund

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