Opinion

‘Suvidha’ sanitary pads now at Rs.1/pad! A leap by Modi Govt to provide menstrual hygiene

Taking the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign to the next level, the central government has taken leap towards providing healthy and sanitary solution for women. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Lok Sabha 2019 campaign, had made a promise of making sanitary napkins available at One rupee through out the 5,500 Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country. And today the government has fulfilled its promise.

When it comes to menstrual health in India, there are several barriers.

  • First, there are absurd believes and taboos in practice related to menstruation . A report on a student project published in July 2017, stated that many women found it awkward to discuss menstrual health, because of the superstitions attached. Many were even scared of being seen disposing of sanitary napkins.

It’s not an easy task to overcome this hurdle. It takes a social reform to change these age old practices. Educating, the girls and women in menstruating age can only bring some difference. Making them understand, that menstruation is natural phase and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

In India these stigmas were developed over time, our culture is wrongly being targeted for it. Indian culture celebrates women menstruation, these stigmas were result of lack of education and change in social status of Indians who couldn’t afford better options to keep up the hygiene.

Another barrier is the access to sanitary napkins, for various reasons,

  • the high price of pads
  • lack of availability of sanitary napkins in rural and remote areas.

About 28 million girls are reported to be leaving education because of lack of availability of good quality Sanitary Napkin pads at reasonable cost.

To overcome this problem in rural areas the centre made access to sanitary napkins easier, thanks to ‘Suvidha’.

The government had launched the ‘Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin’ at Rs 2.50 per pad in 2018 but the price has now been lowered to Rs 1 to further increase affordability. The pads come with a special additive which makes them biodegradable on coming in contact with oxygen after being discarded.

The cultural taboos are slowly diminishing thanks to awareness. Now, thankfully, cost and location won’t be a barrier, as ‘Suvidha’ will literally make it convenient for many to buy sanitary pads.

Late Sri Ananth Kumar, former Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, should be remembered in this context. It was his efforts which made pradhan mantri   Janaushadhi, to reach people in a grand scale

many brands available in the market contain chemicals, and are likely pose health hazards, and aren’t eco-friendly.

a report by Water Aid, and Water and Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, shows that,

India produces 13 tonnes of annual menstrual waste in the form of 12.3 billion disposed pads. The eco-friendly pads like ‘Suvidha’ will not only help curtail this problem but the consumers will be spared of health hazards.

The union Minister of State Chemicals & Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya, at the launch new and cheaper ‘Suvidha sanitary napkins’ mentioned a statistics of that Over 1.30 crore pads have been sold at the PMBJP Kendras till 31 July 2019.

The minister also announced the launch of a ‘Janaushadhi Sugam’ mobile application, which will help people locate nearby Janaushadhi kendras, find direction through Google Maps, search the available generic medicines, analyse product comparison of generic vs branded medicines in form of MRP & overall savings.

Every year on May 28th, Menstrual hygiene day is observed. The health risk to the women can be considerably reduced by community participation via various methods. By taking advantage of platform like social media, anyone can actively participate in educating the women in menstrual age, about the ‘Suvidha’ they are being provided by the government.

Let’s join hands and provide better Healthcare and hygienic options to our mothers, sisters and children.

Dr Sindhu Prashanth

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