SWAT: The health experts here on Wednesday said that Covid-19 pandemic had adverse psycho-social effects on women that needed immediate attention to rehabilitate them.

They were speaking at a one-day seminar regarding the effects of Covid-19 on women.

The seminar was organised by Pakistan Village Development Programme (PVDP).

The district social welfare officer, Nusrat Iqbal, police and health officials, psychologists, social activists and women from different parts of Swat participated in the event.

The speakers said that Swat was one of the six districts in the province where the ratio of violence against women and incidents of women suicides increased during the recent pandemic.

“An ample increase of domestic violence against women has been observed in Swat during the coronavirus pandemic. Swat is on the top of the list in women suicides recorded during the last year,” said Nusrat Iqbal.

She said that that the major cause of increase in incidents of women suicide was men’s unemployment during the lockdown.

She said that men became jobless during the lockdown and they started inflicting violence on women due to mental stress and tension.

The health experts said that the Covid-19 lockdown badly affected the would-be mothers because people were hesitant to take their women to hospitals.

“Though labour rooms were open for pregnant women and proper quarantine centres were established for them but men did not want to get their pregnant women admitted to hospitals as they were afraid of coronavirus,” said Dr Syed Rehmat Ali, the district public health coordinator.

He said that irrespective of their health, women even took care and attended their coronavirus-affected men inside houses that affected them mentally and physically.

The head of Pakistan Village Development Programme, Ziaul Haq, said that his organisation would provide services to the women affected by Covid-19 in Swat and Peshawar.

“Free medical services will be provided to women in Matta, Kabal and Barikot tehsils with the help of expert doctors. Facilities will also be provided to the dispensaries in the project areas,” he added.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2021

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