WaterAid India in collaboration with CFAR, AAINA , NAWO organised an event to mark the fifth ever ‘Global Menstrual Hygiene Day’

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Bhubaneswar: Menstrual hygiene as an issue still clouded with taboo in our society due to our socio-cultural restrictions and mind-set. Studies shows that most of the girls do not know what menstruation is and believe that the menstrual blood is impure. Many of them think that, they should not touch anything during menstruation, as they are not pure. Obviously, when there is so much ignorance and so many taboos about menstruation, menstrual hygiene is highly ignored. And when menstrual hygiene is ignored, women’s health is affected.
Thus, when we discuss about menstrual hygiene from a health perspective, we mostly talk about breaking the silence around menstruation along with personal hygiene during menstruation. Therefore, our discussion revolve round availability of clean absorbents, clean water and privacy in terms of changing room or toilets.
When there is much talk about menstrual absorbent for women and girls, there is not much talk about menstrual waste disposal and management. However, it is need of the hour to start discussing about the menstrual waste management along with menstrual hygiene management.
In this back drop, WaterAid India in collaboration with CFAR, AAINA , NAWO and many other agencies along with various departments of Government of Odisha has organised an event to mark the fifth ever ‘Global Menstrual Hygiene Day’ on 28th May 2018 in Bhubaneswar.
While the objective of the programme was to have an interactive programme for breaking the taboo and myths around “Menstruation” and ‘Menstrual Hygiene Management’, also there was an objective to have a round table consultation involving policy makers and practitioner on appropriate menstrual waste disposal. While the interactive session was done involving 120 women and adolescent girls around Bhubaneswar slums working as frontline cadres, the round table was done involving 30 experts from various government departments, civil societies and academicians.
Setting the context of the round-table, Ms. Arundati Muralidharan, Manager – Policy, WaterAid India highlighted various menstrual absorbents and viable options for disposal of those absorbents. Ms. Bishakha Bhanja, Regional Manager of east region office, WaterAid India said that considering the launching of “Khushi” programme by state for free distribution of sanitary napkin, it is essential to have a dialogue involving all the concerned stakeholders and civil society for promotion of bio-degradable menstrual absorbents as well as proper disposal mechanism. Dr. D K Behera, Senior Scientist, State Pollution Control Board shared various legal and environmental implications of improper menstrual waste disposal.
The event was managed by Mr. Bikash Kumar Pati, Programme Coordinator, WaterAid India (East), Bhubaneswar, Ms. Jyoshna Sahu, Senior Manger, AAINA and Ms. Pujafula Pattnaik, CFAR.

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