Provide sanitary pads in girls schools in mission mode: SC directs Union Government

Provide sanitary pads in girls schools in mission mode: SC directs Union Government

Missing school for four or five days a month has been a routine affair for many girls across the nation. The unavailability of an adequate facility for menstrual hygiene is not humane to tackle this natural, biological process experienced by each adolescent girl and woman.

In a reply to the plea filed by Jaya Thakur, a Madhya Pradesh-based doctor, the Supreme Court on 10th April directed the Central Government to frame a National Policy on menstrual hygiene for school-going girls. The plea said that inadequate menstrual hygiene management options were a major roadblock to education, with many girls dropping out of school due to lack of access to sanitation facilities and products and the stigma associated with menstruation.

The bench comprised Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala. The bench stated that the policy must ensure low-cost sanitary napkins.

Harnessing an enabling environment for girls menstrual health:

Jaya Thakur in her plea said that serious difficulties are faced by adolescent females between the age group of 11 and 18 years. Mainly, the girls coming from underprivileged background face more difficulty. The plea said, “The deprived economic status and illiteracy leads to prevalence of unhygienic and unhealthy practices which has serious health consequences, increase obstinacy and leads to eventual dropping out from schools.”

The direction from the apex court is a blessing for millions of girls in India. Building clean toilets, ensuring the availability and accessibility of sanitary napkins can create an enabling environment for girls. Supportive systemic infrastructure can prevent girls from potentially dropping out of school and hence aid in a healthy future for the country.

Accessibility, Affordability, Availability:

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare introduced Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) for the promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 year in rural areas.

The major objectives of the scheme are:

To increase awareness among adolescent girls on Menstrual Hygiene.
To increase access to and use of high-quality sanitary napkins for adolescent girls in rural areas.
To ensure safe disposal of sanitary napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.
The scheme was initially implemented in 2011 in 107 selected districts in 17 states wherein a pack of six sanitary napkins called “Freedays” was provided to rural adolescent girls for Rs. 6.

From 2014 onwards, funds are provided to States/UTs under the National Health Mission for decentralized procurement of sanitary napkins packs for provision to rural adolescent girls at a subsidized rate of Rs. 6 for a pack of 6 napkins.

Also, a range of Information, Education, Communication (IEC) material has been developed around MHS, using a 360 degree approach to create awareness among adolescent girls. The material includes audio, video and reading materials for adolescent girls and other field level functionaries for communicating with adolescent girls.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post