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PATH – Developing an Affordable Sanitary Pad

Developing an Affordable Sanitary Pad

PATH’s solution is to develop and advance low-cost menstrual management options for girls and women in low-resource settings. Our finding from focus group discussions and literature reviews indicate that girls and women are
interested in disposable products that offer better absorbency and have a cheaper price tag than available options. There are also reusable options (cloth pads and menstrual cups) that can last for several years. These approaches require a higher up-front cost, access to clean water and soap, and thorough drying—resources that are not always available in poor communities. We are  currently exploring a hybrid concept (i.e., a combination of a reusable, fluidresistant sleeve with a disposable, absorbent core) to address the growing challenge of disposing of plastic-lined pads and to reduce the cost. This hybrid option could also offer girls and women the flexibility of using a variety of
absorbent materials that are available to them.

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5 responses to “PATH – Developing an Affordable Sanitary Pad

  1. I am Hina Israr, MH focal person from IRSP-Pakistan, I want to share my experiance on this forum that keeping the importance of the issue in view, we have also developed a low cost sanitary pad design which can be prepared with locally available material easily, IRSP is planning to present this on national and international levels.

  2. Hello,
    Am called Nadege Benimana,and am doing an internship at WaterAid-Rwanda which is an International Non Governmental Organization dedicated exclusively to the provision of domestic water, sanitation and improved hygiene to the world’s poorest people. These most basic services are essential to life; without them vulnerable communities are trapped in the stranglehold of disease and poverty. WaterAid works by helping local organizations set up low-cost, sustainable projects using appropriate technology that can be managed by the community itself. and one of my tasks is the menstrual hygiene management in school where we have our activities,and I have did a short case study on that for one school where we have built an ecosan latrines which have a reserved bothroom for girls at school but in my case study I did a visit of some girls at home and the problem of those girls said that they are ashamed to put their cloths (used like pads tissu) outside at the sun because they want to avoid questions from their brothers and sisters, even neighbours.”
    And my question is: will be easy to those girls who are ashamed of their menstruation once they use those reusable pads because they will always be ashamed to expose those pads?what can you suggest for that issue?

  3. Subhankar Bhattacharya

    Hello, I am Subhankar Bhattacharya, in charge of Menstrual Hygiene Management Programme in the state(province) of West Bengal, India – an initiative implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development in collaboration with UNICEF. The basic aim of the programme is to raise awareness on menstrual hygiene and facilitate installation of napkin manufacturing units by women Self Help Group (SHG) members. Till date, ten such manufacturing units have been installed with the aid of semi-mechanized technology developed locally. The products have been certified by National Test House, a premier Govt. of India Testing Organization as per accepted national standards (BIS 5405). Diverse experiences, some shocking and quite a few inspiring, have been gathered in the course of implementation. The shocking part, is of course the extent of ignorance even today leading to myths, taboos etc. The inspiring part is the sheer enthusiasm of the women and young girls to share their experiences and their zeal to adapt to more hygienic way of living. Moreover, grit, determination and efficiency of some of the SHG entrepreneurs to manage the enterprise has been enriching experience.
    Coming to the product, quite a few technology options and raw materials have been explored and the R&D effort to develop an affordable technology to manufacture a economical, hygienic and widely acceptable product is being undertaken on continuous basis. I believe acceptability of the product, along with price and hygiene is crucial for the sustainability of this programme. the findings of PATH brings out that women demanddisposable products at reasonable price. Our experience is somewhat similar. In fact, even in some remote areas, women and adolescent girls in particular have expressed demand for prototype of of the high-end products available in the market at affordable rate mainly as a result of wide proliferation of audio-visual media which has pushed up the aspiration level. While developing a product or an alternate design, this ‘aspiration factor’ cannot perhaps be ignored.
    Speaking from the experience of product development, the quality, hygiene and comfort aspects of the semi-disposable product must be properly examined at the pilot level. The PATH report is not clear about the acceptability issue. I would like to learn more on this.
    If minimization of disposal hazard is one of the motivating factors for developing semi-disposable product, then my submission is development of a proper disposal habit through proper communication is equally or perhaps more important than development of product.
    Lastly, menstrual hygiene encompasses a gamut of issues because it involves behaviour change, affordable, sustainable and green technology, safe disposal that precludes environmental pollution, business development, capacity building etc. Only recently, the issue has found some place in the public discourse. A broad and holistic approach must be adopted to deal with this issue which is so vast and complex.

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