67% women in Thane slum use public toilets: SurveyUpdated: Oct 16, 2020, 01:01 IST
More than 67 per cent women surveyed in Thane slums do not have access to toilets inside their houses. This was discovered during a year-long survey conducted by a Thane based organisation, MUSE, to understand the menstrual hygiene practices of women in marginalised communities of Thane. The organisation has prepared a few recommendations that will be submitted to the Thane Municipal Corporation.
Nishant Bangera, founder, Muse Foundation, said, “We surveyed women in Thane slums through the year 2019 to study the menstrual hygiene practices followed by the adolescent girls, young and middle-aged women.
Around 1,004 women were surveyed from across 15 slum colonies including Azad Nagar, Banjara Basti, Manorama Nagar, Rambaug (Upvan), Shastri Nagar, Shanti Nagar and Nagsen Nagar in Thane. We had 35 volunteers going door to door conducting interviews,” Bangera said.
According to the survey, around 12 per cent of the women did not have access to sufficient water. The community toilets were found to be unclean and inadequate to address menstrual needs of the womenfolk. Not changing the menstrual hygiene product for more than 12 hours could cause rashes, infections and, in the worst case scenario, even toxic shock syndrome.
“There were 67 per cent of women who accessed these community toilets, making them prone to unsanitary conditions. Similarly, around 56 per cent of the students who went to school had to come back home to change their menstrual hygiene products as they had unclean toilets. Around 18 per cent women who work did not have any provision to change their hygiene products at their workplace. Keeping all of these in mind, we have prepared a list of recommendations that will help provide a hygienic environment to women in Thane city,” said Nehali Jain, project lead, MUSE.
Lalitha T, a member of MUSE, said, “It is recommended that public toilets are set up as per national standards and maintained with the help of security personnel. They should also have provision for menstrual hygiene products and basic facilities like water and trash bins. Moreover, this waste must be disposed of using biomedical waste norms; the civic body should conduct health camps and provide affordable medical assistance. Promotion of sustainable menstrual hygiene products like cloth pads, menstrual cups should be done at the local levels.
“Moreover, awareness to educate the community about menstrual health and normalise periods is a must. Community members need to be encouraged to accept grievances from the locals and convey to the administration.”
MUSE has set up a meeting with TMMC and shall present these recommendations to the local administration at the earliest.