Over 60% of women in India has no clue about what they are about to face with their onset of periods in India. With such lack of awareness come unsafe menstrual practices which leads to infections and diseases. Women’s menstrual health is key to having a healthy lifestyle. They face wide range of health problems and often ignore these due to various reasons such as social taboos, economic pressures or on account of putting their own health at the end of the priority.
Lockdowns due to Covid-19 have been in place since March 2020. There have been continuous disruptions in all aspects of human life. While there also been constant attempts to restore all other services, women’s health has been severely compromised. The availability of menstrual hygiene products such as sanitary pads, menstrual cups, reusable napkins, pain medication have been impacted. Financial instability, social isolation, & psychological hardship have also added to the burden of women and negatively impacted their menstrual health. Even without pandemic making things difficult, economic uncertainty has always meant that women prioritise food and ration over their personal care necessities. A top official at UNICEF said on Menstrual Hygiene day, “Periods don’t stop for pandemics, its every girls’ right to manage her period safely and with dignity.”
Sudhamta Foundation India observed this day by taking up awareness program for pre-menstrual girls, so that they are aware and ready for what they will be facing with proper knowledge and conducted workshop to menstruating girls to learn safe and healthy practices. They distributed 200 free sanitary kit including sanitary napkins, sanitisers and soaps in the slum areas so that they don’t go back to using cloth or practise any unhealthy methods. The eldest trustee and inspiration of this foundation Mrs. Mamata Mitra felicitated the chief guest Mrs. Priyannka Chowdhury, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who also spoke about safe and hygienic methods of menstruation.
Present in the occassion was Ms Arumita Mitra who is one of the prominent figure in all India women movements and who has been a social activist right from her college days, she spoke on the social taboos related to menstruation and why government needs to make sanitary napkins not only tax free but reduce its cost to make it accessible to the rural areas of India and make it an essential product.