Bhubaneswar: While Bollywood celebrities are busy in promotional events to raise awareness on menstrual hygiene, the Odisha government which had embarked on such campaign two years ago has decided to supply free sanitary napkins to school-going girls in the state.
Odisha has been working on the menstrual hygiene of women since 2016. Odisha government had introduced ‘KHUSHI’ sanitary napkins which are provided free of cost to women during post-delivery and post medical termination of pregnancy at all public health facilities to encourage the use of sanitary napkins among women.
To encourage menstrual hygiene among adolescents, social marketing of sanitary napkins was done through KHUSHI and were also introduced in rural communities through ASHAs, in which napkins are sold at Rs 6 per piece consisting of six napkins.
The state government is also provisioning to supply free sanitary napkins to school-going girls from Class VI-XII, in all government and government-aided schools, in order to promote sanitary protection, equity and freedom of mobility.
Free sanitary napkins will also be distributed at 18 napkins per month to over 16 lakh adolescents in schools under School & Mass Education Department, Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department and SC & ST Development, Minorities and Backward Class Welfare Department.
The procurement and distribution of the sanitary napkins under the scheme announced for all districts except Bargarh, will be taken care of by Health & Family Welfare Department through Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited (OSMCL).
According to National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4, 47% women (15-24 years) in Odisha use sanitary napkins while the rest manage with cloth and other traditional methods which often makes them vulnerable to infections.