Why Haryana has the most number of girl child drop out from schools?

Pooja Bhatia

Haryana state government is all set to introduce sanitary napkin vending machines in the government-run school. With a view to promote menstrual health of women and adolescent girls by ensuring availability of quality sanitary napkins, the Haryana Government has decided to install automated sanitary napkin vending machine and incinerators in all government colleges in the State.

If you are still thinking that how far the subject of menstrual health and hygiene affects the young girls in various districts; we have some statistics for you.

An issue characterized by cultural taboos and superstitions, menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in India is challenged by:

  • Lack of Awareness: 200 million girls in India lack awareness of menstrual hygiene and associated healthcare practices.
  • Unavailability of Material: 88% of menstruating women in India use home-grown alternatives such as old fabric, rags, sand, ash, wood shavings, newspapers, dried leaves, hay and plastic.
  • Education: Lack of functioning toilets results in 23% adolescent girls dropping out of school every year

(Source: dasra.org)

How safe our young children and girls without toilets?

Open defecation is a commonly acknowledges problem in India. What urban people in the metros take for granted, is not even accessible to many people in village areas. Either they don’t have a toilet, or are not willing to have one. So, the old-aged people, adults, and children, are all exposed to risk of infections. Many young children in India die because of diarrhea only; it is just one consequence of open defecation. Over 2, 00,000 children die from diarrhea, and it also accounts for excess stunting in India; due to exposure to faecally-transmitted infections.

Open defecation is about ‘not defecating’ in designated toilets, and is about, water, sanitation, and hygiene. Statically defined: India is the capital of open defecation (OD), accounting for 59% of the practice in the world. Almost 638 million people defecate in the open, leaving 65 million kilograms of faeces on streets, rail tracks and fields every day.

In addition, safety, impediment to girl’s education, is some factors attached to habits of OD. Girls are usually required to go in the dark, increasing their risk of exposure to sexual violence.

Initiative by Haryana government

“The vending machines were being installed to ensure an effective and convenient mode for any time access to the sanitary napkins. The purpose is to promote safe and hygienic sanitary practices among the women and girls,” an official release quoting a spokesman of the Higher Education Department, said.

The spokesman said it was observed that in view of social taboo associated with sanitary napkins, a majority of the girls or women feel embarrassed and hesitate to go to the commonly known, manned and often crowded conventional or medicine outlets for sanitary napkins resulting in unsafe practices and use of unhygienic materials during the menstrual period.

“Disposal of used sanitary napkins has been a very common problem everywhere…girls do not like to carry their used sanitary napkins or pads to a bin in front of family and friends,” he added.