According to census data 2011, about 336 million girls and women are in the reproductive age group and menstruate for 2-7days.In 2021, the number would have increased fluently to about 355Mn. Only 48rural women use an aseptic system of menstrual protection as compared to 78 urban women (NFHS-2016-16).
Apart from the gap in usage of hygiene products, another issue is only about 45 of them use blood absorbents while the rest replying on clothes, ashes, sand, etc.
This not only costs their health risk but also ruins education for youthful girls. About 23Mn academy girls drop out of school due to incorrect school hygiene.
What's a period?
The red stain youthful girls fear might be a disease is a period. According to Healthline.in period is-
As a woman, her period is her body’s way of releasing tissue that it no longer needs. Every month, her body prepares for pregnancy.
The lining of the uterus gets thicker as preparation for nurturing a fertilized egg. An egg is released and is ready to be fertilized and settle in the lining of the uterus.
Still, the body no longer needs the thicker lining of the uterus, so it starts to break down and is ultimately expelled If the egg isn't fertilized. This is a period, and once it’s over, the process starts all over again. The period of 21 days generally.
Some women and girls also face certain problems. Like cramps, spotting, nausea, lethargy, fever, etc. As and so needed there are hot water wags for reducing cramps, certain drugs help relieve the pain.
Still, one must visit a doctor and get a platelets test done If the flow is too high and for many days.
Various Products that can be used as an alternative to cloth, ash
Sanitary pads began to be made of Super Absorbent Polymer ( SAP) as an absorbent material, with Polyethylene (PE) as the back cover. This makes it waterproof. It's available in cotton and dry layer. The debate has been going on about whether these pads are causing climate degradation. As indispensable biodegradable pads are available in the market but their cost is high.
This product is analogous to sanitary pads but tampons absorb the menstrual blood before it leaves the body. Its application is initially difficult but once one starts using it, they feel comfortable in it. The catch here's it's so comfortable that occasionally women forget to change it, leading to infections.
• MENSTRUAL CUP
It's a plastic object to be inserted woman during her period. The cup stores blood which can be thrown and the cup is cleaned to reinsert it.
Environment conservation wise cups are better as they can be reused for not just months but years with proper washing. Many women though it uncomfortable because it was unconventional.
'A lot needs to be done to encourage women, and girls to use aseptic products during their cycle
• Talking freely about it with youthful children to remove the taboo associated with it as 71 adolescent girls in India remain ignorant of period till menarche
• delivering pads free or at affordable prices
• Not leaving them, and men excluded in the discussion of periods. It's a natural phenomenon that women have every month.
• Sensitizing parents especially rural ones, to shift from cloth to pad or anything suitable
• Enlarging onus on social media, print media, and Audiovisual media to raise awareness programs.
Some noteworthy and appreciable initiatives by UNICEF in INDIA-
• UNICEF, along with partners, launched MAHIMA (Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management for Adolescents Girls Project) project in Jharkhand to help adolescent girls break the silence that surrounds the period by imparting appropriate knowledge, recognizing the significance of hygiene, enabling girls to talk freely, and facilitating behavior change.
• A UNICEF- captained design, which addresses and strengthens menstrual hygiene operations in Uttar Pradesh. The design aims at piloting a social and behavioral change and communication strategy for menstrual health and hygiene operation among rural adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years experiencing menarche
• Women's self-help group (SHG) in Gujarat, supported by UNICEF, makes affordable & biodegradable sanitary pads as part of the MHM program. Low-cost sanitary products encourage women to develop safe and hygienic practices and endorse the same in the community.