#PeriodPaath: Open Letter To District Magistrate For Providing Better Menstrual Hygiene

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The District Magistrate


Subject: Requesting to provide better menstrual hygiene facilities for girls in Gaya

Respected Sir,

Most humbly and respectfully, I would like to draw your attention towards the much-needed menstrual hygiene and related facilities in Gaya. As you are aware that menstrual practices still face social, cultural and religious restrictions in many parts of India, therefore, it is need of the hour to create awareness about menstrual hygiene. Gaya being a small town is not left with these restrictions. More than being hygienic, people are much concerned about the ill norms and cultural beliefs associated with menstruation. The adolescent girls are not prepared and made aware about menstruation so they face numerous difficulties at home, schools, and work places. Some get afraid, some are ashamed and some even feel cursed about it.

India’s 113 million adolescent girls are vulnerable at the onset of menarche. Adolescence is said to be one of the most crucial periods for establishing healthy practices. It is also considered to be one of the most vulnerable periods because of major body changes in girls, psychological factors and changing social role. Therefore, girls should be provided with better menstrual hygiene facilities, safe environment and knowledge about menstruation so that they are not exposed to reproductive tract infections.

Here are some of the menstrual hygiene facilities needed in our community to ensure good health and hygiene to girls in menstruation:

  1. Not only girls/women but boys/men too should be made aware and have adequate knowledge and information about menstruation so that it can be understood and managed safely with confidence and dignity.
  2. Every adolescent girl and woman must have an easy access to sufficient, affordable and hygienic menstrual absorbents according to their needs during menstruation. Hygienic menstrual absorbents may include sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual cups, etc.
  3. Not only providing these menstrual absorbents would work but adequate knowledge about using these absorbents should be given to the girls so that they feel confident and comfortable in using those products.
  4. Every adolescent school going girl or working women must have access to a separate toilet with private space for cleaning, washing during menstruation. The toilet should also have an access to adequate and sustained water supply and soap.
  5. Every toilet should have a well-positioned mirror so that girls can check for stains on their clothes during menstruation.
  6. Girls must have an access to infrastructure for disposal of used menstrual absorbent so that it keeps the surrounding clean.
  7. There is need of good and experienced public health engineers as they design sustainable technical facilities that must take into account the needs of menstruating adolescent girls.
  8. Health staff and doctors should be always available to provide not only factual knowledge and health care support but must also afford dignity and privacy adolescent girls seeking advice.
  9. Community front-line workers are also needed because they can make sure clear messages about menstruation as a normal biological process reach families.
  10. The local government body must ensure proper implementation of Menstrual Hygiene Management guidelines and policies in the district.

I shall be highly grateful to you try your best to ensure these facilities so that the girls are free of reproductive tract infections and also feel comfortable during menstruation. Thanking You.

Yours sincerely,

Surbhi Kumari.

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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.

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