This women’s day we decided to have a small chat with some women in our community in Radhagram, Chowk in Lucknow. The “parpanch” started with stories about how their children were all growing up so fast and anecdotes from their lives telling how they spent their childhood. It was an attempt to take a break from the stressful world we live in and reminisce the good times they have spent while also learning to value the present days.
Amidst all this, we also stumbled into a conversation on how the medical shop owners are giving the women medical face masks at an inflated price. This got carried on to how the shop owners consider them second class citizens because of their weaker economic status and gender. Just then we mentioned Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra(BJAK) to assess how accessible they are for people here and do they face any discrimination there too. After a few guesses about what it is, they concluded that they had heard of it but don’t know what it is or where it is. One of us just searched online where the nearest BJAK was and it was found to be 800 metres from this place. The women were explained about the concept of generic medicines and how it can be bought from the BJAK. They were told about the helpline 1800-180-8080 where they can approach for complaints. The women were so eager to know about the prices of different medicines that they brought their medicine strips to show and ask. While it was good to see the eagerness in the women to make this switch.
While conversing with them, it became clear that they were being not treated well by the medicine shopkeepers and that lack of awareness about the government’s initiative is one of the leading causes of people not being able to use them. One interesting interaction made the enthusiasm and sense of ownership clear.
Woman 1 - “bahut door hai…ab jaana mushkil hoga”
Woman 2 - “ama ek toh sasti dawa mil rahi aur sukoon se mil rahi, ab usme bhi tumhe paas chahiye….ek baar mei sablog ki dawa le ayega koi.”
And we finally ended our panchayat when one woman got up saying - "aapne toh humei mahila diwas ka tohfa de diya"