Hygiene by nature

A woman needs to be taken care especially during menstrual periods and failure on this part may lead to multiple complexities in her internal organs. Adolescent girls who attain puberty will have minimal knowledge about the changes that have taken place in their body. Girls in rural areas are more prone to gynaecological problems owing to lack of hygiene. To overcome this problem by creating awareness among young rural girls, Community Health Medicine Department of Manipal University have taken a novel initiative to introduce sanitary napkins at affordable rates, besides creating awareness regarding hygiene to be maintained during menstrual period.

‘Sneha,’ sanitary napkins is manufactured in a small outlet on the outskirts of Manipal under the guidance of Community Health Medicine Department.

The production was started on May 7, 2009 at Kukku da Katte, 80 Badagabettu.

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) being the solo motto underneath the venture has as many as 18 rural schools targeted for imparting knowledge till date.

Speaking to City Herald, Dr Anjali Rao from Department of Biochemistry who pioneered the idea of MHM for the first time in Udupi district especially in the areas in and around Manipal says it is a cause of worry to see young girls affected with gynecological problems purely due to their lack of knowledge on hygiene, she added.

Incidentally, Anjali was inspired by an article that appeared in Deccan Herald dated April 19, 2008 on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for the rural women and girls in Tamilnadu.

“We use local language to communicate with the girls and make them aware about the health that is intricately connected with cleanliness and sanitation,” she said and added that the girls are provided Sneha sanitary napkin packets free of cost in these sessions with the help of local sponsors.

In the second phase of awareness programme, a large number of Anganwadi teachers /helpers, ASHA workers under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and lady teachers are sensitised to MHM and are shown samples of ‘Sneha’ with the option of procuring the personal hygiene product to women.

Anjali says a lot of hard work and dedication went into collection of information, getting to know a resource person and in implementation of the project.

Finally, a SHG consisting of rural women was identified in a rural setting and imparted training to manufacture sanitary napkins by skilled hands in a hygienic manner, she informed.

However, the department of Mechanical Engineering of Manipal Institute of Technology with the help of the Incubation Centre has improvised a few equipment required for the manufacture of sanitary napkins to make the laborious process simpler.

‘Sneha’ was launched on 101st International Women’s Day celebration in Manipal recently.

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