MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT IN KERALA [MHM]

The Government of Kerala designed and implemented a set of targeted interventions aimed at girl children to spearhead the adoption of safe and hygienic menstrual practices. At the onset of puberty, health education is provided in order to empower girls to take control of their own bodies. It is expected that targeted intervention at the adolescent stage could impact not only hygienic practices but also social behaviour of girls by removing the stigma attached to menstruation. The program will raise the confidence level of girl students, and positively impact attendance and academic performance.

Aiming at the holistic development and well-being of the girl child, The Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation Limited (KSWDC), a public sector undertaking (PSU) under the Government of Kerala, has initiated “MHM” and its component, ‘SHE-PAD’ Project to ensure that girl students gain awareness about menstrual hygiene and get easy access to free Sanitary Pads and Incinerators and provide Menstrual Awareness Classes.

Recognizing the relevance of menstrual hygiene management to the health, well-being and educational achievements of girls, the She-Pad Project was launched.  Girl students studying in classes 6 through 12 in Government and Govt.-aided schools are covered under the scheme. The project was flagged off on 8th November 2017 by the Minister for Health, Social Justice and Women and Child Development with the active support of Local Self-Governing bodies at Janardhanapuram HSS, Ottasekharamangalam, Thiruvananthapuram.

Global and national health indicators highlight the need to focus on adolescents rather than adults. To design and implement a comprehensive Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) program at the school level is therefore one of the priorities of the Kerala Government.

 SHE PAD PROJECT

In association with HLL Life Care Limited, KSWDC organized menstrual hygiene management programs in upper primary, high school and higher secondary classes. HLL Life Care Ltd. (a Govt. of India PSU) has undertaken to supply high quality sanitary napkins and incinerators to burn the used napkins. Steel Almirahs for storage of sanitary napkins are being supplied by state PSUs namely Artisans Development Co-operative Ltd, Steel Industrials Kerala Ltd. and Kerala Artisans Development Corporation Ltd. This process eliminates middle-men and unnecessary additional costs, thereby ensuring that the entire plan outlay for the project reaches the beneficiaries directly.

As per a Government Order, all LSGIs (local self-Government Institutions) are directed to allot 10% of their total plan fund for women component program. Accordingly Rs.9crore was disbursed by 376 panchayath and 3 Lakh girl students from 1693 schools were the direct beneficiaries. A total of 25, 12,416 Packet of napkins, 1388 incinerators, and 1378 Steel Almirahs have been distributed so far.

Kerala is India’s first state to implement such a project. It is a model that is easily replicable besides being environment friendly. The project was launched on 8th November 2017 by Hon. Minister for Health, Social Justice and Women and Child Development, Smt. K. K. Shylaja, at Janardhanapuram Higher Secondary School, Ottasekharamangalam.

 MENSTRUAL HYGIENE AWARENESS PROGRAMME

In association with HLL Life Care Limited, KSWDC organized menstrual hygiene awareness programs in upper primary, high school and higher secondary classes to increase awareness among adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene, to reduce stigma and unwanted beliefs surrounding menstruation and to build self- esteem and empower girls for improved school attendance and greater socialization. The awareness sessions have been completed in 975 schools at a project cost of Rs.7.5 million. In the next phase 1500 Govt schools will be covered through online platform.

The Outcome

Today, KSWDC, which is committed to the holistic development of women and girls, spearheads the menstrual hygiene management education programs, ensures easy access to high-quality sanitary napkins, and facilitates safe and eco-friendly disposal. The main emphasis is on encouraging adolescents’ participation in all fields and providing complete support on the onset of puberty. Care is taken to see that girls do not drop out of any educational or co-curricular activities on account of menstruation.

Reproductive education and sex education are also part of the awareness programs.  As poorly managed Reproductive Tract Infections and Urinary Tract Infections often bring a train of health issues in their wake, it is believed that a targeted intervention at the school level would have measurable and immeasurable health benefits.

Menstrual hygiene is a key contributor to public health and disease prevention. By successfully implementing the She-Pad project, Kerala had directly impacted the lives of tens of thousands of girl students, making the project a first-of-its-kind in India. As today’s child is tomorrow’s mother, we are hopeful that today’s intervention at the school level will positively impact the lives of the next generation as well.

She Pad application Form Download

 KARUTHAL – Skilling of women in Professional Care Giving

Kerala’s total population as per the 2011 census is around 3.36 crores, of which 12.6 % are aged above 60 years. According to a present study, the state’s elderly population is growing at a perpetual rate of 2.3%. Due to the advancing stage of Kerala’s demographic transition, the proportion of aged population will continue to increase through the next couple of decades. It is also noted that the number of people suffering from debilitating and incurable diseases is on the rise in the State. Diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, neurological, pulmonary, cardiovascular, peripheralvascular, end-stage renal diseases, paralysis, incSapacitating mental illnesses and ailments associated with old age are few of the health issues that require long-term care particularly home based care.

In India Kerala has the highest out of pocket expenditure for health care. If the person happen to be the breadwinner of the family and he/she become bedridden due to the illness, the situation becomes worse.   This might cause a cascading effect in the social life of the family leading to spouses losing their jobs, children dropping out of the school losing the house to pay off debt, etc. Considering the status of epidemiological and demographic transition the state is undergoing, there will be more number of houses with one senior citizen alone in the coming years. Welfare states should have a mechanism to address the issue of caring for the aged and the ailing. The responsibility should transform from the family to the community.

There is a gap in the demand and supply of home based care for the patients and older persons who require long term care.  The KARUTHAL- Home Based Care Training project by KSWDC proposes to bridge this gap by putting together a team of women care givers for providing continuous care for the aged and ailing in the community while also providing employment opportunities for women.

 SHE TOILET

The Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation Ltd, working for the upliftment of women in the state has implemented the She toilet project in the state to tackle problems of female hygiene and access to sanitation in public spaces. There are a total of 57 She-toilet units across Kerala. The very first electronic, fully automated she- toilet units offer respite to women, because there are very few public toilets around and even they are filthy and unfit for use. They are so well designed and equipped that it thoroughly caters to all sanitation needs of the women as it contains sanitary napkin vending machines and incinerators to burn the used napkins, along with self- washing and sterilization functions.

The automatic, unmanned, she – toilet are based on cost-effective and environment-friendly technology. It is eco-friendly in that the waste decomposition is done with bio enzymes and the water used for self-washing is recycled for future use. The said toilets are women-friendly, reflecting an Indian touch in one and all its features. Further, the toilets are also having common facilities like automatic payment collection; automatic door opening, ‘busy’ and ‘free’ display boards and an automatic platform cleaning system. The use of hi-technology in these toilets will overcome all human errs that make comfort stations intolerable.

The Corporation has also installed 12 She-toilets at the major Railway Stations in Northern Kerala. The corporation intends to expand the reach of the project further, so as to ensure that every woman has access to clean, hygienic and fully equipped women-friendly public toilets.

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