About 68 per cent rural women cannot afford sanitary napkins available in the market, according to a survey. According to gynaecologists, use of alternative sanitary care measures such as unsterilized cloths, sand and ash make women susceptible to infections and diseases.
Poor financial condition deters majority of the women to buy quality sanitary napkins, the survey said. Among the cloth users, 45 per cent reuse cloth and 70 per cent dry them in shade, increasing chances of serious infections.
The proposed project location is under Kolkata Municipal Corporation Ward Nos. 58, 65, 91, 105 and 108.The population residing within the dump yard comprises of very poor socio-economic groups, mostly belonging to the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes who are the most socially excluded groups perpetually living on the margins. The double whammy of COVID-19 and Amphan Super Cyclone has dealt a devastating blow on this section; pushing them further down on the socio-economic scale.
- Biodegradable sanitary napkin production unit with necessary machines and equipment will be set up where women from the community will be trained to work and produce napkins. This engagement will also provide an alternative livelihood opportunity for them particularly in the post pandemic situation wherein livelihoods especially in the informal sector have been destroyed.
- Low-cost sanitary napkin vending machines will be installed in 10 Select Government High Schools (for girls) over a period of six months with at least 100 adolescent girls enrolled in each school. It has been estimated that clients can access 3 pieces of sanitary napkins at a cost of Rs. 10/-. Initial incentive money will be given to first time sanitary napkin users for three menstrual cycles (three months) for the purpose of promotion. A register will be maintained for each vending machine and periodically monitored.
- The project will emphasize on generating awareness, sharing information and creating behaviour changeover from cloth usage to biodegradable sanitary napkins during menstruation to avoid many diseases and promote menstrual hygiene. Proper, dedicated and trained ground staff will be recruited to bring change and promotion of such sanitary napkin use.