By OUR STAFF REPORTER
Dehradun, 28 May: On the occasion of World Menstrual Hygiene Day, Sanjay Orthopaedic Spine and Maternity Centre, Jakhan, and SHEWA NGO conducted awareness programmes in which sanitary pads were also distributed to students of GIC, Rajpur Road.
Dr Pratik Sanjay said on the occasion that men should help break the social taboo attached to menstruation. “It is essential that both men and women talk about periods. Only by initiating a dialogue will the taboo and stigma lose its power. If, both, mothers and fathers were able to talk about periods to their daughters, then there would not be statistics such as the 70 per cent of girls in India who have no knowledge of menstruation before their first period,” he added.
Gynaecologist Dr Sujata Sanjay from Sanjay Maternity Centre added, “Talking about menstrual health is still a social taboo. In many families, menstruating women are not allowed to touch pickles because they believe it will turn bad if they do so. Menstruating women are not allowed into some temples, and, under some customs, made to stay in an outhouse during the period of bleeding. Some don’t even take a bath during periods. It is generally observed that there are many taboos about menstruation due to our socio-cultural restrictions and mindsets. The socialisation process is so strong that even the women themselves think that during menstruation they become impure. Besides, menstrual hygiene is highly ignored in society, which affects women’s health. The young could end up changing the mindset of older people, which would percolate down to the next generation”
Women menstruating should take a bath more than twice a day and change sanitary towels thrice a day. Poor practices can increase a woman’s susceptibility to reproductive tract infections (RTI) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
The biggest barrier to using a sanitary napkin is affordability. Around 70% of women in India say their family can’t afford to buy them.
“Across India, there are 73 per cent urban women using hygienic methods of protection during menstruation and only 47.6 per cent women using hygienic method in rural areas. Inadequate menstrual protection makes adolescent girls (age group 12-18 years) miss 5 days of school in a month (50 days a year). Around 28% of these girls actually drop out of school after they started menstruating,” revealed Dr Sujata.
“There is an urgent need to remove the taboo that is associated with sanitary napkins. I think awareness is needed about the subject of menstruation. Starting from the medical shop owner, who wraps the napkin packets as if they are forbidden goods, to talking freely about problems a woman faces during periods, everything needs to be discussed. Men and boys have a key role to play. We live in a patriarchal society, that is why the onus is on men who are in a position to make a difference and create awareness on menstrual hygiene,” declared Dr Pratik