Female Community Health Workers in Nepal talk about labor exploitation

In Nepal, there is a law that says no one can be employed without remuneration. Nepal Government, however, has been employing them for the last 36 years without any pay.

Bimala Panthi Sangraula - Jhapa

We have a law in Nepal that says no one can be employed without remuneration. Nepal Government, however, has been employing us for last 36 years without any remuneration. Nepal Government has punched to our guts. We are here to express our plight on the issue with the concerned Minister.

Prem Kala Yogi Banke

Last year, the Government had at least allocated more or less budgets and mentioned fifty-two thousand community health volunteers. But the current government didn’t even mention us. FCHVs had opened the television, hold on to their mobile phones during the budget speech anticipating some announcements regarding the FCHVs, but we were not even mentioned. Where did FCHVs disappear? Why didn’t we come to Nepal Government’s sight? We have been completing all the tasks assigned by Nepal Government. We don’t have fixed working hours. We can’t even say it's night or day, we have to be ready for the call twenty-four-seven. Despite our hard work, our facilities are being reduced. In this regard we have gathered here to submit our demands in front of Minister on behalf of all the FCHVs deployed throughout Nepal.

Ratna Rijal- Udaypur

Nepal Government established Female Community Health Volunteers, and from that day of establishment we have been working day and night. I have been working as FCHV since 1996 and its 25 years now. We are working like slaves for the Nepal Government and have to submit more than 82 report to ward health center. Upon submitting the reports Nepal government used to pay us NPR 200 (USD 1.55) in the past which has been raised to NPR 400 (USD 3.10) now. We do not have any facilities except that. Recently, Nepal Government have introduced the policy to retire after the service of 25/30 years upon attaining the age of 60 for the Female Community Health Volunteers. It is fine to introduce the policy, but, the directive was introduced inaudibly. While preparing the directives targeted to FCHV the representation of 52 thousand united FCHV who have experience of 25/30 years of service was totally ignored. We are really disappointed with the directive. The directive provisions retirement at the age of 60, that’s fine, but the FCHV who has served for 30 years should be provided with the gratuity of at least 20 thousand per year of their service. This is what we have to say. This is our demand. Our delegation is here at the Ministry of Health after meeting at the central committee gathered from all the seven provinces and prepared the minute demanding the amendment to the directive. Nepal Government will provide NPR 20,000 (USD 1550) to the FCHV retiree serving thirty years, is that all? Is NPR 20,000 (USD 1550) the only value for 30 years of our life? We provided our service voluntarily but how can we provide our service empty stomach? The situation has worsened now. Market prices are rising day by day. We have to pay for our transportation to go to work. It takes two hours, three hours, four hours even more to reach workplaces. And after taking service for 30 long years should Nepal Government be refraining from providing us any facilities? We have come here to say that Nepal Government is not doing right and to meet Minister to submit our demand for the amendment of the health directive.

Shova Yadav Siraha

I have been working as FCHV in my area since 1996. In rural areas, local people call us doctors, because we work like a doctor. But we have been facing many problems. People in the village think that we receive a hefty sum as a salary. We have to do lots of work. We have to prepare more than 81-82 reports. The problem we are facing is that there is no medicine at the time of need. We are not even able to provide the medicine as there is no stock in our village clinic. We reach the door to door informing about vaccination every month. We provide counseling to pregnant women about nutrition and encourage them to visit health centers to take vaccines and for delivery. Medicines and materials provisioned by Nepal Government should be available in the health centers. So, it has to be managed well. Wards are spread to a very big area, but we do not have any means of transport for the visit. Neither had they provided us a bicycle nor anything. We are fulfilling our duty by reaching out to every household to create awareness during the summer season. We have no provision for communication facilities. Even in this situation, we are fulfilling our obligation to reach door to door and creating awareness. In 2009, we had organized a mass gathering and formed a union which is registered at the Labour Department. From that onwards, we have been submitting various charter of demands. But Nepal Government has not evaluated our work adequately until now. Our work should be properly evaluated. Our wages should be determined and we should be entitled to our wages. After a long struggle, Nepal Government has ultimately provided us with the uniform allowance for our identity. We are paid NPR 12,000 (USD 93) allowance every year. In present context, a daily wage earner gets NPR 600 (USD 4.6) to NPR 1000 (USD 7.7) per day. They are even get paid extra for the meals. We are paid NPR 400 (USD 3.10) by the Nepal Government on the day we give polio drops and vitamins to the children. The services and facilities we have been receiving has to be assessed and raised. The current budget did not address anything it is and had been 12,000 (USD 93).


Originally produced in Nepalese only by HealthPati on 26 July 2022. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=812680010106587&ref=sharing