Kerala

Helping students with menstrual hygiene

A sanitary napkin vending machine.

A sanitary napkin vending machine.  

Thrissur district panchayat installs napkin vending machines, incinerators in schools

The Thrissur district panchayat is on a unique mission to ensure menstrual hygiene among school students.

The district panchayat, which has embarked on a project to make Thrissur child-friendly, has been installing napkin vending machines and incinerators in all schools under it.

District panchayat president Shiela Vijayakumar said 258 napkin vending machines and incinerators had already been installed in government and aided schools under the district panchayat.

These days, menstrual cycles begin at the age of 10 for many girls, and managing them in schools has become a challenge. “Menstrual hygiene has been a concern among girls. Lack of facilities to change and dispose napkins compels girls to stay with soiled napkins for hours, leading to many gynaecological issues and infections. Often, girls are unprepared for the onset of menstruation,” said the district panchayat president. “The project has been implemented by integrating State and Central schemes for women’s development,” she added.

Schools with more than 500 girls will be given two sets of machines. High schools and higher secondary schools are provided with separate machines. “Each set with an incinerator, vending machine and five boxes of napkins, at a cost of ₹63,000. Each box will have 500 packets, with three-napkins in each,” said welfare standing committee chairperson M. Padmini.

The package with three napkins can be procured from the vending machine by paying ₹10. “We are thinking of finding the money for napkins from the school fund itself, so that children will not have to pay for it,” she said.

The district panchayat has been providing periodical demonstration in schools on operating the machine.

Major challenge

A major challenge faced by the district panchayat was procuring the napkins at reasonable rates. It found a way out of the problem by providing training for Kudumbasree Mission workers to make napkins.

“Training has been given for 36 Kudumbasree workers to make napkins. One of the three proposed napkin-making units has already been installed at Mundur. The other two will come up at Olari and Chovvannur soon,” said Ms. Padmini.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 3:54:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/helping-students-with-menstrual-hygiene/article19898553.ece

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