Photo credit : Ahmed Zarrouki

As the country faces a second wave of Covid-19 infections, the FTDES has published a new report focusing on Tunisia’s marginalized social groups during the first wave of contamination that began in March. The study, entitled « Management of Covid-19: State Policies and the Most Hurt Social Groups», considers different aspects of how the health crisis has been managed, focusing on segments of the population that have faced the most precarity as a result of the epidemic.

These groups include women farm laborers, cleaning ladies working in hospitals, construction workers as well as servers in cafés, restaurants and bars. What these groups have in common?Their work is precarious or informal. They are on the lowest rung of the social ladder and have found themselves defenseless against the Coronavirus.

« The general lockdown decreed in March was meant for the entire population. Except that in the face of the current situation, not everyone is equipped with the same capacity for resistance and resilience », Sofiane Jaballah, who coordinated the chapters of the FTDES report told Nawaat. « The government’s management of the health crisis was unjust. It is a continuation of 60 years of institutionalized injustice, as shownby the inadequacy of health facilities and the minimal level of financial assistance provided ».

Jaballah underscored that the preominance of a health approach in managing the first wave of Covid-19 contributed to exacerbating the impoverishment of certain socio-professional categories.

Zero Recognition for Cleaning Ladies in Hospitals

Amel Hazel authored one chapter in the FTDES report entitled « Female Cleaning Workers in Hospitals During Pandemic : Key Actors in the Fight for Life. According to Hazel, the work of cleaning hospital facilities is primarily undertaken by women. Starting with the premise that in hospitals these individuals are more exposed to the virus due to the daily handling of medical waste, Hazel examined the daily life of these employees, using the Houmet El Soukregional hospital in Djerba as an example.