#PeriodPaath: Menstrual Hygiene 7

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My name is Kaveri Kaushik and I am from Delhi Public School, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, U. P.

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE – “Sanitary protection: Every woman’s health right”

How carefree were those days until I faced this phase of life i.e. ‘Life with menstrual cycle’

In the beginning, I felt very uncomfortable. Even after several cycles my panic button gets pressed as my periods appear.

My mother and grandmother often tell me how different the conditions were in their time. The world was living with several taboos and myths about this natural and very important process. Even today we come across with very saddening News like in Nepal a woman had to live separately outside her home in very unhygienic conditions in her periods that she died because of immediate conditions and severe cold nights. Such things need to be changed so that every woman (Rich or Poor, Urban or Rural) may live with relief. Affords in this direction resulted into thought provoking movie “Padman”.

Thanks to the modern world in which we are living today that the several facilities have made our living very comfortable even in those ‘uncomfortable days.’

A very important aspect of periods is maintaining hygiene. Recently a report suggested that improper sanitation practices are responsible for death of almost eight lakh women in a single year. To avoid such mishappenings , we can take some precautions by making following points a habit.

 CHANGE PADS WITHIN THREE HOURS.
Changing pads within three hours help in maintaining proper hygiene by avoiding building up of bacterial growth.

 CHANGE PANTY REGULARLY.
It is safe to change panty at least every day to prevent staining and infections.

 DISPOSE USED PADS PROPERLY.
Improper disposal of the pads can lead to contamination of our surrounding as badly-wrapped pads can provide a breading growth for microbes, flies, mosquitoes and many other carriers of various infectious diseases.
The best way to dispose used pads is –
Always wrap the used pad properly in a used paper before disposing off in the dustbin.

 TAKE A BATH EVERYDAY.
Bathing is a most common, easy and natural way to maintain hygiene.

 WASH YOUR PRIVATE PART PROPERLY.
You can do this by using antiseptic liquids such as Vwash or simply water.

 DO NOT USE SYNTHETIC PADS.
This is because these are made up of synthetic fabric and are responsible for rashes and allergies.

Few more tips –

 GETTING OUR PERIODS SAFE AT SCHOOL.
Keep pads in school bag (even during non-period days) for an emergency.

 WHAT TO DO IF ONE GETS HER FIRST PERIOD AT SCHOOL?
One should not be shy to ask the school nurse or teacher for the supplies during periods. Simply approach them and say “I got started my period today and I am without sanitary napkins.”

 THINGS THE SCHOOL SHOULD DO TO MAKE SCHOOLING COMFORTABLE FOR GIRLS.
– There should be dustbins and sealing bags in the washrooms.
– School should have proper disposable facilities.
– School should keep extra uniform .
– School teachers should never say “No” to a girl, if she needs to go the washroom.
These should be taken seriously as approximately twenty million girls drop out of school due to inadequatte sanitation and disposable facilities.

 WHAT CAN THE GOVERNMENT DO?
It should make the pads cheaper and educate poor women .

 WE DEMAND A CHANGE.
– We need both education and sanitation.
– 70% of women still use old rags to soak the flow.

 MENSTRUATION IS NOT PAINFUL, TABOOS ARE:-
Taboos are nonsensical, these are there for limiting girls.
There are taboos related to menstruation also :
– Girl experiencing periods should not enter temple.
– Women experiencing periods are impure.
……..And many other illogical as well as unscientific.

 IS BUYING SANITARY NAPKINS EMBARRASSING?
Menstruation is still such a taboo in India that many women find it embarrassing to walk to a chemist to buy sanitary pads.

So girls be ready for those days GOOD LUCK!!

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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