Effective menstrual hygiene management practices will go a long way in ensuring the comfort of adolescent girls and women from the natural, physiological phenomenon of menstruation, said K.Meena, Vice Chancellor, Bharathidasan University.
Speaking at the inaugural of the two-day UNICEF sponsored workshop organised by Menstrual Hygiene Management Consortium (MHMC) on disposal mechanisms of sanitary napkins and exploring pilot on re-usable napkins recently, Ms. Meena said that several studies have revealed that lack of sufficient infrastructure facilities like toilets and restrooms in schools was one of the main reasons for high percentage of dropouts among girls in schools.
The Vice Chancellor said that hygienic and environmental-friendly method of disposal of menstrual pads must form an integral part of all programmes of the MHMC, which has joined hands with the Centre and the State government to improve menstrual hygiene practices in the State.
Mr.Arun Dobhal, WES (water and environmental sanitation) specialist of UNICEF, Chennai, inaugurating the workshop, said that there were 50 lakh adolescent girls in the State and majority of them were not in a position to get useful, authentic, and scientific information on menstrual hygiene practices. This causes serious physical and emotional stress on the young girls leading to erosion of quality of school life and the future. UNICEF had taken several initiatives to promote health and hygiene in schools throughout the State and many special programmes in its focus district of Krishnagiri.
He urged MHMC to prepare an action plan right from awareness creation to safe disposal of sanitary pads so that it could work closely with the government and National Rural Health Mission as soon as the national programme was launched.
Kannaghi Chandrasekaran, president, MHMC, explained the key role played by the Consortium in bringing together the stake holders in the field under a common platform to look into various aspects of production, distribution and safe disposal of sanitary napkins with a key role for women self help groups. R.Sujatha of Cheema Foundation, Chennai and Regional Co-ordinator MHMC, said Kancheepuram district has drawn up a plan to provide all the 183 schools girl-friendly toilets by August this year.
V.Ganapathy, state co-ordinator, MHMC, explained the severe environmental damage that could be caused by the proposed government scheme which envisaged supply of 40 lakh menstrual pads every month to the adolescent girls in the state if the used pads were not disposed off hygienically.
Ramachandran, Assistant Project Officer, District Rural Development Agency, N.Manimekalai, Director, Department of Women's Studies, Bharathidasan University, M.Subburaman, director, SCOPE and Krishnamoorthy, director, INDIA NGO, spoke.