To improve the sanitary health in rural areas, the department of women and child development is planning to sell sanitary napkins to rural women and girls in MP through anganwadis and encourage its production through self help groups (SHGs).
Under a pilot project, called ‘Project Udita’, more than 50 sanitary napkins vending machines were first installed at girls’ hostels, schools and colleges in the Indore division.
Buoyed by the results, more sanitary napkin vending machines were installed in other regions in Indore and Barwani as well.
“Installing vending machines was a problem in rural areas, therefore, it was decided to promote the napkins through anganwadi workers,” said JN Kansotia, principal secretary, department of women and child development. “Every anganwadi would have a dedicated corner for it (vending machines) and the anganwadi workers have been asked to sell it from there, besides selling it door-to-door.”
The project will be launched at Budhni and Narsinghpur this month. Ten more blocks, including Dindori, Jhabua, Bhopal, Vidisha, Raisen, Gwalior rural and Gwalior urban, Rajgarh, Burhanpur, Sehore and Indore, would be added next month.
These napkins are made by SHGs of Madhya Pradesh and are cheaper by about 30% to 40%, as compared to other branded varieties available in the market.
Over 60% rural women cannot afford sanitary napkins
68% rural women cannot afford sanitary napkins available in the market due to their high costs and unavailability reveals a survey conducted by some NGOs, including Water Aid
75% rural women lack adequate knowledge on menstrual hygiene and care
Most rural women use alternative sanitary measures, like clothes, etc which make women susceptible to infections and diseases, say gynaecologists
23% adolescent rural girls discontinue studies due to inadequate sanitary facilities in schools, another survey finds
Girls in rural India miss schools for about 50 days a year due to inadequate menstrual care
Project Udita trains anganwadi workers to talk about menstrual hygiene with the rural girls and clear the general misconceptions about menstruation that is culturally considered a taboo.