Girls in rural areas, in particular, miss school during the period days and subjected to stigma
New Delhi, January 09, 2019: Recent research indicates that about 71% of girls in India do not know anything about menstruation before their first period. The lack of awareness around her first period can put a young girl, sometimes as young as 10, through mental trauma and fear over what is happening to her. This when combined with a sense of shame that is instilled by the age-old stigma around a menstruating woman, can prove debilitating.
Approximately 80% of girls in rural India miss school for three to four days a month, coinciding with the start of menstruation. This is given the lack of awareness about usage of sanitary pads. A cloth is prone to leakage and staining and does not keep a girl comfortable or safe from infection during those days. The reasons for lack of sanitary napkins are many, affordability just being one of them.
Dr K K Aggarwal
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr. KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI and Dr. Anita Kant Sr Gynaecologist Faridabad said, “The myths and associated stigma surrounding menstruation are one of the many issues that girls and women face in India. In rural areas, women and girls are still not allowed to discuss pain or other issues related to menstruation openly. They thus tend to suffer in isolation and skip school, college, and work. Menstrual hygiene must be inculcated in them as early as possible. Lack of hygienic methods can lead to infections and even cervical cancer going forward. Apart from this, it is imperative to normalize periods as something as regular and as common as any other bodily process.”
Studies indicate that even mothers (about 70% of them!) consider menstruation as ‘dirty’ and ‘polluting’. They do not speak to their daughters about the subject or address their concerns.
Adding further, Dr. Maj Prachi Garg Secretary IMA New Delhi Branch said, “The subject of menstruation, hygiene, etc. should not just be restricted to the female members of a household. There is a need to create awareness among the men in the family as well. It is also imperative to create an enabling environment in schools to educate girls and boys alike on this topic, especially in rural areas.”
Some basic menstrual hygiene tips from HCFI
Source of Feature Image: Internet
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