Menstrual Hygiene Day: Unhygienic Protection Causing Urinary And Reproductive Tract Infection In Tribals In MP

Menstrual Hygiene Day: Unhygienic Protection Causing Urinary And Reproductive Tract Infection In Tribals In MP

Search Research Society's Monika Jain, who has toured tribal areas in Betul, Chhindwara and Seoni district, besides Kesla block in Hoshangabad district, said tribal women use cloth, husk and leaves

Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 01:15 AM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Women in Madhya Pradesh's tribal areas hardly use sanitary napkins, say social activists who work among tribals in the state. Lack of awareness and availability and expenses involved are reasons why tribal women donít use sanitary napkins. They use old clothes, husks, leaves, ashes etc. As a result, they suffer from anaemia, urinary tract infection, reproductive tract infection and other health issues.

Maya Vishwakarma, known as MP's padwoman, said she did not find a single woman using sanitary napkins when she visited Bhilmadhana, a tribal village in the Narsinghpur district. "The village has a population of 1,000 and we can easily presume that there must be at least 400 women of reproductive age but none of them use napkins," she said.

According to Maya, situation is same in 50 tribal villages located in Satpura mountain ranges on border of Chhindwara and Narsinghpur district. "The state governmentís Udita scheme exists only on paper. Neither schools, nor anganwadis provide sanitary napkins," she says.

Search Research Society's Monika Jain, who has toured tribal areas in Betul, Chhindwara and Seoni district, besides Kesla block in Hoshangabad district, said tribal women use cloth, husk and leaves.

"Adolescent girls keep away from schools during periods. Schools donít have separate toilets for girls and where they do, there is no water supply," she said. According to Monika, the ordinary pads are priced at Rs 5 per piece and for a family with, say five women, it becomes unaffordable.

Social activist Prabha Gaur, who works among tribals in Mandla, Dindori, Alirajpur districts, said, "People are poor and canít afford napkins. Due to taboos, women don't hang cloths they use during periods in open for drying. They are never exposed to sunlight and are re-used," she said.

A social activist who works in Dhar and Jhabua district said only school and college-going girls used sanitary napkins.

Udita Yojana almost dead

State government's Udita Yojana, meant for providing low-cost sanitary napkins through schools, colleges and anganwadis, is almost dead. Women and child development department, which administers it, has no data on number of functional Udita corners. "If anganwadi workers are running Udita corners on their own, we are not aware of it," a department official said.

MP second-worst

According to National Family Health Survey-5, Madhya Pradesh is second-worst state in country in use of hygienic methods for menstrual protection. Almost 39% of women of 15 to 24 years of age do not use hygienic methods. Almost 64.4% of women use cloths during periods.

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