Dhaka, March 8 (IANS) Almost 80 per cent of the women in Bangladesh do not use sanitary napkins mainly due to its high cost and also a lack of awareness, leaving them susceptible to a myriad of health problems, a media report said on Sunday.

In 2014, about 14 per cent women used napkins. Now, the percentage is about 20 per cent, The Daily Star newspaper said in the report citing industry insiders as saying.

In Bangladesh, the average price of a high-quality sanitary napkin 12 taka.

“Many people think it is an extra cost but they do not realise the health cost of traditional management of menstrual cycles,” said Sharmind Neelormi, a professor at Jahangirnagar University.

Naima Sultana, a student of the University of Dhaka, said that women still feel shy about buying pads from shops, adding that awareness on the importance of sanitary napkins was seriously lacking.

Mamunur Rahman, founder of Ella Pad, a low-cost sanitary napkin, said: “But people don’t want to talk about the subject due to social taboo.”

“Our first generation women are still advising their descendants to use cloth instead of sanitary napkins,” Rahman said, while calling for large scale awareness programmes to get women to embrace sanitary napkins.

But Jesmin Zaman, head of marketing of Square Toiletries, said price was not the main deterrent for women using sanitary napkins.

“A woman needs only 50 taka to manage a menstrual cycle. This is not too high as they spend more on cosmetics. Habit, awareness and price are the three reasons behind the low penetration,” The Daily Star quoted Zaman as saying

In an effort to remove social taboo and create awareness, Square has trained and briefed at least 50 lakh school-going girls in the last 10 years about the management of menstrual issues, she said, adding they also operate a toll-free teleservice where any female can get free advice from professionals.

–IANS

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