New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Around 74 per cent girls in Bihar and 76 per cent in Jharkhand used sanitary pads and cloth now, up from 50 per cent and 46 per cent in these two states respectively after the implementation of the “Paheli ki Saheli” programme, according to sanitary napkin brand ‘Stayfree’ manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.
The initiative, launched by Johnson & Johnson and supported by Unicef for the past six years, has brought in a significant change in menstrual hygiene and better disposal practices.
As per “Stayfree”, a report by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) 2011-12 states that only 38 per cent menstruating girls in India spoke to their mothers about menstruation while a 2015 survey by the Education Ministry found that in 63 per cent schools in villages, teachers never discussed menstruation and how to deal with it in a hygienic manner.
“We, at Stayfree, have been continuously working towards bringing about a behavioral change with adolescent girls. And our partnership with UNICEF continues to address this reality, through educating young girls. ‘Paheli ki Saheli’ is our effort in providing education and awareness to enable girls in India not to miss their school,” said Dimple Sidhar, Vice President, Marketing, Johnson and Johnson India.
According to the firm, the access to sanitary napkins, information and knowledge on menstrual hygiene showed an immediate impact on school attendance as 97 per cent approved of attending school during menstruation.
Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, Representative, Unicef India said: “It is just not right that adolescent girls feel the need to miss school due to the pain or stain associated with menstruation. The partnership with Stayfree has created robust communication tools which have equipped girls and people in their ecosystem with necessary life skills on managing this issue.”