‘Swaccha Gelati’ focuses on menstrual hygiene

At a time when menstrual cycle is still tabooed to be discussed in open, the Zilla Panchayat has initiated “Swaccha Gelathi” programme to create awareness among adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene.

The programme, which is under Swaccha Bharat Mission, will also create awareness on the management of menstrual waste.

According to ZP CEO Dr M R Ravi, the target is 30,734 students in sixth and seventh standards in schools.

The campaign aims at creating awareness on the menstrual cycle, hygiene to be followed during the time, instilling self-confidence among girls and also creating awareness on the social taboos associated with menstrual cycle.

It aims to create awareness on the scientific disposal of sanitary pads or napkins. The programme also aims to sensitise the boys on the issue, he added.

Survey

In fact, the Health and Family Welfare Department had conducted a survey on menstrual hygiene through Asha workers in the district with a sample of 6,455 women.

As per the survey, out of 6,455 women, 5,148 (79.75%) use sanitary pads or napkins. As many as 1,307 women (20.34%) use clothes.

The number of women who use clothes is high in spite of educational background.

In fact, 67.21% of women were changing the pads or clothes only twice a day, 24.78% women were changing thrice a day while only 7.99% women were found changing pads above four times in a day, revealed the survey.

Further, the survey found that 18.55% women were disposing of pads in waste pits or coconut tree pits, 24.84% were handing it over to the waste disposal vehicle, 14.03% in toilets, 29.52% were burning it while 13.01% were throwing it into open drains or beside the road.

No guidelines

The CEO said even after several years of Swaccha Bharath Mission, there are no proper guidelines on the management of menstrual waste, which has led to hazard to the environment as well.

“According to 2011 census, Dakshina Kannada has 10,54,935 women of whom 4,76,800 were aged 11 to 49 years. On an average, 3,81,440 (80%) women use sanitary pads or napkins every month. An average of 30,51,520 pads or napkins would be required a month (on an average of 8 pads a month). No one knows where does these napkins or pads go,” said CEO M R Ravi.

As per “Swacha Gelathi” action plan, a team of 25 children would be formed in schools. Every team will have an NSS student as a guide.

An informal session on sharing experiences will be held. Around 1,604 NSS volunteers of Mangalore University jurisdiction will be imparted a one-day training. The students, in turn, will visit the schools to create awareness among the students.

Empowerment

The programme aims at empowering the female students mentally, removing taboos related to menstrual cycle and helping them adjust to the physical changes during puberty.

Further, awareness will be created among parents and guardians on the menstrual cups and hygiene.

There is a need to change the mindset of the people on the social taboos associated with the menstrual cycle, said the CEO.

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