A community-based organisation, the Ashodya Mahila Samanwayas Samithi (AMSS), is launching a smart and innovative health card for sex workers from the Mysore district.
As many as 500 sex workers are set to benefit from this which is a first in
A first time in the country this scheme is to start with as many as 500 sex workers getting the smart cards. The smart card project, the brainchild of Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), AMSS and Pennat Consulting Services, providers of software for the card, is being launched as a pilot initiative in the district and would be spread to neighbouring districts in future.
In a speech at the concluding day of the two-day national meet of sex workers in Karnataka. The State Aids Prevention Society Project Director Shashidhar said to keep the card valid, sex workers should turn up for health check up at least once in three months. He had handed over the first card to the AMSS Secretary Bhagyalakshmi. Women he explained had to report at their own health clinic set up by the KHPT.
Ms Bhagyalakshmi who spoke at the occasion said that sex workers face social stigma and discrimination in their day-to-day life. She explained that the smart card was not just plastic money, but a symbol of self-esteem. She felt that it would give the sex workers a sense of belonging to the society. She explained that the smart card would not only offer business transactions but would also provide them with access to health services, and lastly it would give them a pride that they were using a new age IT tool.
The conference passed several resolutions, including networking with organisations at state, national and international level, providing care and support to AIDS patients, extending healthcare to sex workers and their dependents, imparting legal literacy and providing legal support to members, undertaking specific activities for old sex workers and addressing other needs of sex workers and their children. Malini, a sex worker from Kerala, who had written her autobiography, was honoured during the occasion that was taken part by over 150 sex workers from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Kerala, besides Karnataka.