Pandemic has brought out misery of lack of access to menstrual hygiene, says Dr Hema Divakar

‘Will not rest till every girl and woman is given access to menstrual health’

Bengaluru: World Menstrual Hygiene Day is today and the theme for 2020 is ‘Periods in Pandemic’. Unfortunately, due to lop sided policies and misplaced priorities, majority of 300 million women in India are facing untold misery because of difficulties in getting access to menstrual hygiene products.

May 28 has been chosen as World Menstrual Hygiene Day because on an average the menstrual cycle for most women is 28 days and the menstruation period for most women is for five days.

Even today, despite availability of several menstrual hygiene products like sanitary napkins, tampons, and menstrual cups, 80% of Indian women don’t use the most basic form of menstrual protection because they have no means to access them.

Dr.Hema Divakar, Medical Director of Divakars Specialty Hospital; CEO & Chairperson, ARTIST and policy advisor to the Union Health Ministry spoke on this aspect of access to hygiene devices during a webinar on menstrual hygiene day arranged by India’s premier industry body ASSOCHAM today.

“Over 300 million women have to deal with menstrual issues every month and majority of them have been facing difficulties in getting menstrual hygiene products across India during this pandemic,” Dr.Hema said at the ASSOCHAM meeting. “While focus has been on migrants and business activities, women’s hygiene issues are not getting required attention,” she rued.

The webinar on ‘Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management During COVID-19’ saw participation of Dr.Zoya Ali Rizvi, Deputy Commissioner (Adolescent Health)  Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India, Dr.Pratibha Singh from UNICEF India and Abhilasha Sood from UN Women India.

Women face inconvenience and health risks for not having access to sanitary napkins. Last year, at the 62nd All India Congress of Obstetrics & Gynaecology held in Bengaluru in January 2019, Guinness World record was created with a display of sanitary pads to raise awareness about the essentiality of access to sanitary pads.

The longest line of sanitary pads with the figure of the uterus in the middle was lined up for the same. About 10,105 sanitary pads measuring about 1,078 meters were lined up for the record as part of the AICOG 2019.

Menstrual hygiene is vital to the empowerment and well-being of women and girls. The day is to highlight menstruation with dignity and about ensuring women and girls live in an environment that values and supports their ability to manage menstrual hygiene.

Menstruation is a normal biological process and is key in maintaining the reproduction health of a woman. Taking care during menstruation is as important as taking care of day to day activities. A little negligence in menstrual hygiene management can cause grievous harm to a woman’s body.

Dr.Hema Divakar tells women that “health and menstrual hygiene are extremely important. Use menstrual cup, the modern device or sanitary pads but maintain hygiene.” Dr.Divakar steers and guides Manyata and Parivartan, two important campaigns focused on women’s health and reproductive rights.

Dr.Hema Divakar’s resolve is that “we will not rest till every girl and every women gets access to menstrual hygiene awareness and products.”

City Today News



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