Menstrual hygiene: Freedom of mobility – experiences from villages in the states of Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, India

Mariya John Fernandes of Wateraid India presented this paper at the South Asia Hygiene Practitioners’ Workshop, 1–4 February 2010, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Mariya discusses the issue of menstrual hygiene and how an experiment in Chattisgarh where women have got together to spread awareness and even make sanitary napkins themselves.

They have also worked towards designing toilets which dispose the napkins with privacy and dignity … using a sanitary pit which bio-degrades.

Read the full paper.

Q and A and discussion

Here is a summary of the discussion following Mariya’s presentation at the workshop.

Is there a direct causal link established between reproductive tract and urinary tract infection and pond bathing?
Anecdotal evidence but no causal studies. Detailed studies needed.

Since menstrual health is not only about sanitary pads/napkins but also availability, disposal systems, etc etc what are the systemic interventions needed?
Knowledge, awareness, availability of products, disposal mechanisms many things needed. One intervention not enough.

How do we begin?
Let us look at our work places Govt. academia NGO’s . Do we provide such facilities? Let us begin the change ourselves. In schools let us make sanitary facilities for availability of products/ disposal facilities and privacy all available. Think comprehensive and think with girls/women.

It was Bangladesh which spurred me to take this up in India.

Social taboos and breaking the silence is crucial. Start policy level debates, look at universal education if girls drop out during adolescence. Policy level debate is very very important. In Nepal also such work has begin.

The sanitary pads in Chattisgarh are bio degradable. They use cow dung and are able to compost it in two to three months.

More knowledge and open discussion including physiology of women…this has to happen.

Ignorance is widely prevalent on what is used to manage menstrual periods. Cloth, straw, ash, mud is all used.

Addressing adolescent girls is crucial.

See below the video (in three parts) of the presentation made by Mariya with the Q and A session

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Source: zenrainman, Hygiene Practitioners’ Workshop blog, 03 Feb 2010

One response to “Menstrual hygiene: Freedom of mobility – experiences from villages in the states of Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, India

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