Menstruation is a natural phenomenon among matured females who experience shedding of blood for 1-7 days every month from the age of maturity until menopause.1 It is a normal biological event, about 2100 days menstruation between 12 and 40 years of age=almost six years of life.
Menstrual Hygiene Management (M.H.M.) has been defined by WASH as:
Various aspects such as physiology, pathology and psychology of menstruation have been found to associate with health and well being of women; hence it is an important issue concerning morbidity and mortality of female population. On the other hand, hygiene related practices during menstruation are of considerable importance for reproductive health, poor practices increase vulnerability to reproductive tract infections.2
Recently, a study in three districts of Uttar Pradesh by UNICEF has revealed several critical findings with respect to knowledge, attitudes, practices and norms on various aspects of menstruation.
THE ANALYSIS OF THIS RESEARCH REVEALED:
Cloth is the preferred choice
Restrictions in daily life
Impact on school
Thus, Menstrual Hygiene Management is fundamental to the dignity of women and girls and an integral part of basic sanitation and hygiene services for which every woman and girl has a right. M.H.M. needs to be seen also within the overall equity and inclusion paradigm as a neglected issue. It cuts across other vulnerabilities such as disability, location, poverty, class, caste and religion according to the context.8 Good hygiene, such as use of sanitary pads and adequate washing of the genital area, is essential during menstruation. Women and girls of reproductive age group need access to clean and soft absorbent sanitary products, which in the long run protect their health.9-10 Unfortunately, despite numerous interventions on sanitation and health, menstrual hygiene and management has yet not received adequate attention.
Keeping in mind the above stated facts, the present project of production of low cost sanitary napkins by women from the local community has been taken up in District Mahoba under the Department of Panchayati Raj. . It has been successfully implemented w.e.f. April 3rd, 2013 and there is a need for an enabling policy framework so that this becomes a viable model to be replicated by the state.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES:
The Sanitary Napkin Production Unit has been set up at Srinagar, KABRAI block of District Mahoba. The unit has been funded under NBA (Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan) by the Department of Panchayati raj and after getting wide appreciation of public esp. women at large ; a proposal has already been mooted to replicate it in other parts of the state in various phases.
ROLE OF KEY STAKEHOLDERS:
Facilitation of knowledge sharing and promoting menstrual hygiene
Running the production unit and ensuring transparency
Involving more volunteers and enhancing entrepreneurial skills
Conduct regular workshops, facilitate in distribution and marketing
Involving more volunteers and enhancing entrepreneurial skills
TECHNOLOGY USED:The mini sanitary napkin making machine has four different units namely:
RAW MATERIAL USED:
COST STRUCTURE & ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF THE PROJECT:
Socio-economic status is the most influencing factor on the behavior of girls, it is established fact that AFFORDABILITY help to acquire healthful behaviors. In India, particularly in rural areas most women use cloth because PRICE is the biggest entry barrier. A pack of 10 sanitary napkins would cost Rs 30-40. Therefore, average spending during the menstruation days would be around Rs 48, which is expensive by Indian standards.
COST (APPROXIMATELY IN RS) PER MACHINE:
This is one time investment which is approximately required to procure the mini sanitary napkin production machine.
RAW MATERIAL (FOR 3 MONTHS):
COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS: cost of single napkin
Cost of 8 napkins i.e. one pack= Rs 1.42*8= Rs 11.36
10% profit= Rs. 1.13
Grand Total= Rs. 12.49
Thus, it is evident from the above analysis that this is a LOW COST alternative in comparison to expensive napkins available in the market, which is not only safe and hygienic( UV treated) but at the same time, eco friendly as it is being manufactured from the natural resource i.e. wood pulp. It is also pertinent to discuss here that in order to make this unit sustainable and economically viable; there is a need to establish an assured market which is possible only if we have a clear roadmap for its effective implementation.
The patriarchal structure of Indian society remains one of the biggest challenges to the healthy development of women and girls. The shame and myths associated with menstruation, the secondary treatment meted out to girl child, the nutritional biases which a female faces from her childhood, ignorance, illiteracy, lack of resources and inability to take decisions are some of the factors which impact women’s health. In a society which defies the goddesses and represses, suppresses and humiliates the women of flesh and blood with alarming regularity, this is nothing short of natural.
The Indian Government has, however, learned to expand its thinking with regard to feminine hygiene in the past year since the unveiling of the free sanitary napkin scheme. With this new scheme, accessibility and affordability, as well as hygiene education, are confronted head-on.
Today, this project has not only provided a platform of generating awareness for the use of sanitary napkins in the state but also, it has provided the local women with income generating opportunities, enhancing their freedom to pamper themselves that they deserved for so long. The cost effectiveness has further added to its popularity and it has already been replicated in district Barabanki. Recently, the Govt. of India had sent tariff commission to visit and study this project. The women out there have accepted it and the demand generated by the local public and the post natal ward of women hospital, has pushed the district administration to set up a second production unit in the coming days. Definitely, this project has succeeded beyond a certain expectation
This proposal has been perceived and implemented keeping in mind: Project SUBAH is………
A dawn reverberating with a new voice to break the silence of poor women who have been shackled with taboos and myths for ages……..