Menstrual Hygiene and Management in Developing Countries:
(Pages 1 - 2)
By Sowmyaa Bharadwaj andArchana Patkar
Lakshmi Murthy, works with Vikalp Design an NGO working in Udaipur specialises
in communication for reproductive health to rural people. She initiated
a series of workshops where she went into rural areas, explaining how women
could use washable pads. She used a doll to demonstrate the use of this
method and this proved to be quite successful. HYPERLINK "http://www.vikalpdesign.com"
www.vikalpdesign.com [from MUM: also see teaching
girls in India]
18.104.22.168 TAMIL NADU
In a move to encourage schoolgirls in rural areas to continue school
after puberty, the rural development department of the state government
of Tamil Nadu initiated a project to motivate them to use sanitary napkins.
Officials at the rural development department found that the cost factor
of popular brands of napkins discouraged adolescent girls from using napkins,
so they had to depend on improvised material, but which would not be very
effective. Even if they used napkins, safe disposal of it could be a problem.
So, the girls simply skipped classes on those days at the cost of their
studies. Keeping all these in mind, the department, with the help of UNICEF,
trained 360 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in napkin production. SHGs in 18 districts
make and sell the napkins at a cost of Rs 20 per packet. Their products
do seem to sell well, thus enabling them to make some money. All the 1.5
lakh SHGs in the state have been roped in for promotion of sanitary pads
among rural girls. Besides, for safe disposal of used napkins, the UNICEF
had designed a low-cost incinerator, costing Rs 1,500, with a facility to
burn them by using firewood. It has suggested construction of toilets exclusively
for girls in schools and also women sanitary complexes in rural areas. Accordingly,
the rural development department recently conducted a workshop in Vellore
on the low-cost incinerator technology for 15 SHGs. Incinerators have been
installed in 341 toilet complexes and 33 girls' toilets in schools so far
in the state.
22.214.171.124 UTTAR PRADESH
Sayahog initiated a programme of Washable pads for women in Almora, Uttar
Pradesh with the long term aim of ensuring them greater freedom. Women prior
to this, initiative would sit in a cow shed during their period. Part of
the work of Sayahog was to make women realize that the blood doesn't come
out of their bodies inherently polluted or smelling. They used the simple
logic of asking women what a piece of meat would smell like after it has
been sitting in the sun for a week. This then encouraged women to try out
using sanitary pads that were essentially sifted wood ash wrapped in a cloth.
Wood ash is readily available, absorbs odours, and can easily be thrown
out into the woods or fields when the pad has been used. This disguised
their menstruation, allowing them to pursue normal activities, at least
for part of their period.
Dr Nirmala Ganla, a gynaecologist from Pune, encourages the vermi-composting
of all the waste from her own hospital, including sanitary napkins. They
have been successful in transforming their hospital waste to rich compost
fertiliser for the past several years.
The 28th WEDC Conference, 2002, had invited a Ms. Patel to present a
paper on menstrual hygiene and management. Although we were unable to trace
a formal record of this paper from either WEDC or the All India Institute
of Hygiene and public health in Calcutta several colleagues attended
this presented which described a pilot experiment in peri-urban Maharashtra
to dispose of sanitary towels. The initiative consisted of simple adjustments
to latrine designs to introduce a shoulder level chute, perfectly angled
to ensure that the napkins fall directly into a deep pit dug for this purpose.
A low-cost chemical agent added a few times a month ensured speedy decomposition.
The concept as presented by Ms. Patel is reproduced in the figure below.
We are however unable to furnish contact details at this time.
LIST OF ORGANISATIONS/INDIVIDUALS CONTACTED
ActionAid HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
BRAC - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
CARE (in the SAFER Programme) - email@example.com
Feroz Ahmed a professor at ITN - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
email@example.com HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" , HYPERLINK
"mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org, HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
Naripokho - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
Rita Afsar (a senior professor at BUET University) - Director, Advisory,
Extension & Research Service (DAERS): HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
WaterAid - firstname.lastname@example.org
Newah: HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Oxfam: online enquiry form filled
SAATHI - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
or HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Socio-Economic Welfare Action for Women in Nepal (SEWA) - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
WaterAid: HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
All Pakistan Women's Association - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
Shirkat Gah (Women's Resource Centre) - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
firstname.lastname@example.org HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
Institute of Women's Studies, Lahore - firstname.lastname@example.org
COSI Foundation for technical co-operation (Ms. Palitha Jayaweera)
Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum - email@example.com
Sri Lanka Women's NGO forum - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
Voice of Women - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
AASRA (Advocacy for Alternatives Sexuality Reproductive Health &
AIDS) - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Action Aid India - email@example.com
CEHAT HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com,
Center for Action Research & Development Initiative(CARDI) - firstname.lastname@example.org
DevAlt - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com%20" firstname.lastname@example.org
Kalpavriksh - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
SEWA HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Socio Economic Unit Foundation - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
firstname.lastname@example.org, HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Toxic Links email@example.com
Organisations - India
All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health - firstname.lastname@example.org
All India Institute of Local Self Government email@example.com
Centre for Environment Education - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org%20"
Centre for Science and environment email@example.com
Mumbai MedWaste Action Group - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
Sulabh International - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com?Subject=Mail%20via%20website"
firstname.lastname@example.org, HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com?Subject=Mail%20via%20website"
firstname.lastname@example.org, HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com?Subject=Mail%20via%20website"
TARU HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Winrock - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Centre for Education and Documentation - HYPERLINK "mailto:Cedbom@doccentre.org"
firstname.lastname@example.org, HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
Centre for Women's Development Studies HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
email@example.com, HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Elsevier's Women's Health Resource Online - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
ITDG HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org,
HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Asia Pacific Women's Watch (APWW) - HYPERLINK "mailto:Tuckway@nsw.bigpond.net.au"
Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) KL
- HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
GreenPeace - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
International Women's Rights Action Watch - Asia Pacific - HYPERLINK
IRC-Source Editor Dick DeJong-form online
Museum of Menstruation - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
Water Aid firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO), New York-
HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
AWID - 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'email@example.com', HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
GWA - email@example.com
Source - 'firstname.lastname@example.org', 'email@example.com', firstname.lastname@example.org'
The Lancet - HYPERLINK "mailto:USLancetCS@elsevier.com" USLancetCS@elsevier.com,
HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org
Water and Sanitation & Health Professionals
Alison Wedgewood - Alison.Wedgwood@btinternet.com
Annemieke de los Santos, UNFPA Bangladesh HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
Ashish Mishra - firstname.lastname@example.org
Atul Shahade - email@example.com
Caroline Moser, Overseas Development Institute - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
Carolyn Stephens, London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine - HYPERLINK
Christine Nare - email@example.com
David Satterthwaite, IIED firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Mitlin, IIED - HYPERLINK "mailto:Diana.email@example.com"
Dr. Balachandra Kurup - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Francis Watkins - Dk011g0320@blueyonder.co.uk
Dr. Kamal Kar - email@example.com
Hazel Slavin firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Kathy Shordt - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Lakshmi Lingam - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com,
HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Lakshmi Murthy HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"
Lina Payne - Lina@mardall.co.uk
Padmaja Nair email@example.com
Padmaja Pai HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com,
Rokeya Ahmed - HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Sandy Cairncross, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, HYPERLINK
Shankar Talwar - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheela Patel (SPARC) - HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
Sheridan Bartlett- HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" email@example.com
Suzanne Hanchett firstname.lastname@example.org
JunctionSocial has a database of about 2500 books, journals
and reports which we reviewed for this study. This was supplemented by an
exhaustive internet search.
Our literature review included key annual development publications by
international agencies such as The World Development Report (1995 onwards),
The State of the World's Children, The State of the World's Population,
National and State Human Development Reports, World Health Report, Water
and Sanitation in the World Cities, The Challenge of Slums, National Family
Health Surveys and others. Some of the categories under which our desk review
was conducted are listed below.
Adolescent and Child health
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
Solid Waste Disposal
Hygiene Promotion & Behaviour Change
Government, Community and private participation
Gender, Adolescents and Child Rights
Access to services
Water and sanitation
Voice and participation
Policy, Planning and Investments
Gender, Adolescent Programming
The Human Waste March, 2002, A report by WaterAid and the TearFund
Social Development Adviser DFIDB Mahmuda Rahman Khan and Social
Development Link Consultant to DFIDB - Archana Patkar
Please contact us on HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"
firstname.lastname@example.org for web links. The bibliography is growing everyday
and we welcome additions from our readers.
MENSTRUAL HYGIENE AND MANAGEMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: TAKING STOCK
Social Development Consultants
201A Gagangiri, 10 Carter Road, Khar,
Mumbai 400 052, INDIA
Tel: +91 22 26040874/26044934
Menstrual Waste Disposal
"The general practice that people are comfortable with is to dispose
of menstruation waste in toilets or rubbish bins. Some also prefer burning
them. The rural women respondents usually rinse the blood first before disposing.
The reason behind this is the belief that blood is sacred and it should
not be left around in the open."
"The disposal of menstruation protection seems to be influenced
by location. Women dispose of this differently depending or where they are
at the time. For instance, their behaviour when they are at home is different
than when they are in public places. When in public places, the behaviour
of rural people who are accustomed to throwing products in the pit, changes
according to the toilet type used. For instance, when they are in a place
using flush toilets, they flush the products in the toilet. When it does
not flush, they take it out, wrap it with toilet paper and throw it in the
dustbin inside the toilet. There are those who also say that they wrap it
and carry it home with them and dispose it in their pit toilets. In the
suburbs and formal townships the common behaviour seems to be throwing them
in the bin or flushing them down the toilet and sometimes it gets burned
when at home."
Tebogo Molefe (Social Surveys), Jenny Appleton (Partners in Development)
Research into Hygienic and Acceptable Disposal of Waste Generated
during Menstruation and Sexual Activities, National Sanitation Coordinating
Add Chemical Agent
201A Gagangiri, 10 Carter Road, Khar, Mumbai 400 052, INDIA
Tel: +91-22 -26040874/26044934; Email: email@example.com
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