Why in News?
Despite a slew of government schemes aimed to promote menstrual hygiene among women and adolescent girls, use of sanitary napkins is still sparse in large swathes of India, various studies show.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
As per health ministry data, only 12% of India’s 355 million women use sanitary napkins. Over 88% of women resort to alternatives such as un-sanitized cloth, ashes and husk sand. Incidents of reproductive tract infection (RTI) are 70% more common among these women. The biggest barrier to using a sanitary napkin is affordability.
The Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS)
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been implementing this scheme for promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years primarily in rural areas as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram.
Under the scheme, subsidized sanitary napkins are provided. The sanitary napkins branded free days are sold at Rs6 per pack of six napkins by Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs)
The scheme has the following objectives:
i)To increase awareness of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls
ii)To increase access to and use of good quality sanitary napkins among adolescent girls residing primarily in rural areas
iii)To ensure safe disposal of sanitary napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.
Menstrual Hygiene Management National Guidelines 2015
Menstrual hygiene management is an integral part of the Swachh Bharat Mission Guidelines (SBM-G). The Menstrual Hygiene Management Guideline is issued by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation to support all adolescent girls and women.It outlines what needs to be done by state governments, district administrations, engineers and technical experts in line departments; and school head teachers and teachers.
Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan
This scheme was launched in March 2009 with the objective to enhance access to secondary education and to improve its quality.
Under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, a centrally sponsored scheme under the Union ministry of human resource development, apart from providing separate toilets, sanitary pads are provided in schools and girls hostels.