Researcher to examine effect of pandemic on vulnerable women

Holding rose between hands

The £203,025 study will focus on international female migrants and their families at home, in Indonesia

  • 05 September 2020
  • 4 min read

A Portsmouth researcher has been awarded a share of £7.5 million government funding to examine the international impact of Covid-19 on the world’s most disadvantaged.

Professor Saseendran Pallikadavath, at the University of Portsmouth, is to work with partners at the Portsmouth-Brawijaya Centre for Global Health, Population and Policy (Centre created with funding from an earlier Newton Fund grant), University of Brawijaya, in Indonesia, on a £203,025 study looking at migrant workers.

UK Research and Innovation announced the funding today for 20 projects in its international Covid-19 awards to support global recovery.

The projects are expected to be completed in 18 months.

Together, they focus on understanding and developing solutions to mitigate the short and long-term health, social and economic consequences of Covid-19 for some of the world’s most disadvantaged people.

Professor Pallikadavath’s study will look at the socio-economic and health impact of the pandemic on international female migrants and their families at home, in Indonesia.

He said: “There are no studies on the impact of Covid-19 on the 1.3 million women from Indonesia working abroad, mainly in the Middle East and South East Asia, as maids and carers in private homes.

“These hundreds of thousands of women leave behind their families to work in positons where they are particularly vulnerable to neglect.

“For example, women in such roles routinely lose access to health care, have their wage cut or delayed indefinitely.”

There are no studies on the impact of Covid-19 on the 1.3 million women from Indonesia working abroad, mainly in the Middle East and South East Asia, as maids and carers in private homes.

Saseendran Pallikadavath, Professor of Demography and Global Health

The study aims to collect data on these women and prepare recommendations to pass on to the Indonesian government where, it is hoped, it will inform policies and reduce some of the negative consequences the pandemic has had on this large group of workers.

The new awards are the first tranche to be announced by UKRI funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund and will directly address the negative impacts of Covid-19 across developing countries where communities are already vulnerable due to long-term conflict, food and water shortages and crowded living conditions.

Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI’s international champion, said: “Covid-19 is demonstrating just how interconnected our world is and how our biggest challenges transcend rich and poor countries. To find lasting, sustainable solutions to the current pandemic and its aftermath, as well as to make us more resilient for the future, we require global thinking, the mobilisation of global expertise and a global response. That is exactly what these new projects provide. Working together, researchers across the UK and the Global South are combining their knowledge and experience to develop innovative solutions to empower local communities to overcome the wide-ranging challenges created by Covid-19.”

UKRI launched the Agile Covid-19 GCRF and Newton Fund to address the need to understand the specific challenges faced by some of the world’s poorest people in the face of this global crisis. 

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