DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20211267

Emerging issues and barriers in access to menstrual hygiene management in a tribal district of India

Jyoti Kakwani, Jitendra Kumar Meena, Anjana Verma, Neha Dahiya

Abstract


Background: Access to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) remains a critical challenge to Indian women especially in remote areas. The problem of poor availability, acceptance, and affordability of MHM products is further aggravated by negative social construct and environmental concerns. Poor menstrual hygiene is linked to significant morbidity and mortality due to reproductive tract infections (RTIs) and cervical cancer etc.

Methods: A campaign “Chuppi Todo” was organized in Udaipur; a tribal district in Rajasthan aiming for menstrual health education of adolescent girls and mothers across public schools through interactive means. During the campaign interviews were conducted by trained field staff with participating girls to elicit perspectives related to menstrual hygiene and feedback of the education sessions.

Results: Based on qualitative assesments it was observed that women largely ignore menstrual hygiene or follow old traditional practices. They don’t prefer using modern MHM products like sanitary pads etc owing to the difficulty in their disposal and embarrassment.

Conclusions: The present study highlights existing knowledge gaps and barriers in providing universal access to MHM to adolescent girls and women living in remote areas in India.  


Keywords


Menstrual hygiene, Sanitary pads, Qualitative research, Universal access, Reproductive health

Full Text:

PDF

References


Sommer M. Where the education system and women’s bodies collide: The social and health impact of girls’ experiences of menstruation and schooling in Tanzania. J Adolesc. 2010;33(4):521-9.

Mason L, Nyothach E, Alexander K, Odhiambo FO, Eleveld A, Vulule J, et al. ’We keep it secret so no one should know’--a qualitative study to explore young schoolgirls attitudes and experiences with menstruation in rural western Kenya. PloS One. 2013;8(11):e79132.

Vashisht A, Pathak R, Agarwalla R, Patavegar BN, Panda M. School absenteeism during menstruation amongst adolescent girls in Delhi, India. J Fam Community Med. 2018;25(3):163-8.

Khanna A, Goyal RS, Bhawsar R. Menstrual Practices and Reproductive Problems: A Study of Adolescent Girls in Rajasthan. J Health Manag. 2005;7(1):91-107.

El-Gilany A-H, Badawi K, El-Fedawy S. Menstrual hygiene among adolescent schoolgirls in Mansoura, Egypt. Reprod Health Matters. 2005;13(26):147-52.

Gautam O. Is menstrual hygiene and management an issue for adolescent school girls in Nepal? 2010;19-21.

Ahmed R, Yesmin K. Beyond construction: Use by all, A collection of case studies from sanitation and hygiene promotion practitioners in South Asia. Menstrual hygiene: breaking the silence. London: WaterAid. 2008.

Dasgupta A, Sarkar M. Menstrual hygiene: How hygienic is the adolescent girl? Indian J Community Med. 2008;33(2):77.

Balamurugan SS, Bendigeri ND. Community-based study of reproductive tract infections among women of the reproductive age group in the urban health training centre area in Hubli, Karnataka. Indian J Community Med. 2012;37(1):34.

Bhatia JC, Cleland J. Self-reported symptoms of gynecological morbidity and their treatment in south India. Stud Fam Plann. 1995;26(4):203-16.

Juneja A, Sehgal A, Agarwal SS, Singh V, Murthy NS, Mitra AB. A study of obstetric and hygienic practices in development of high and low grade lesions of uterine cervix. Obs Gynae Today 2002;7:535-7.

Thakur A, Gupta B, Gupta A, Chauhan R. Risk factors for cancer cervix among rural women of a hilly state: A case-control study. Indian J Public Health. 2015;59(1):45.

Sarkar M, Konar H, Raut DK. Gynecological malignancies: epidemiological characteristics of the patients in a tertiary care hospital in India. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev APJCP. 2012;13(6):2997-3004.

Bayo S, Bosch FX, de Sanjosé S, Muñoz N, Combita AL, Coursaget P, et al. Risk factors of invasive cervical cancer in Mali. Int J Epidemiol. 2002;31(1):202-9.

Control of cancer of the cervix uteri. A WHO meeting. Bull World Health Organ. 1986;64(4):607-18.

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ICF. 2017. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), 2015-16: India. Mumbai: IIPS.

Bae J, Kwon H, Kim J. Safety evaluation of absorbent hygiene pads: a review on assessment framework and test methods. Sustainability. 2018;10(11):4146.

Wendee Nicole 2014. A Question for Women's Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2014;122:3.

Nilesen AC. Sanitary Protection: Every Woman's Health Right. A survey undertaken by AC Nielsen. Reviewed and endorsed by community development organization Plan India, the survey was conducted in October. 2010.

Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India. Menstrual Hygiene Management-National Guidelines; 2015. http://www.mdws.gov.in/sites/default/files/Menstrual%20Hygiene%20Management%20-%20Guidelines.pdf. Last accessed on 2nd December, 2020.

Sinha RN, Paul B. Menstrual hygiene management in India: The concerns. Indian J Public Health. 2018;62(2):71.

Eijk AM van, Zulaika G, Lenchner M, Mason L, Sivakami M, Nyothach E, et al. Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Public Health. 2019;4(8):e376-93.

Juma J, Nyothach E, Laserson KF, Oduor C, Arita L, Ouma C, et al. Examining the safety of menstrual cups among rural primary school girls in western Kenya: observational studies nested in a randomised controlled feasibility study. BMJ Open [Internet]. 2017;7(4).

Sommer M, Sutherland C, Chandra-Mouli V. Putting menarche and girls into the global population health agenda. Reprod Health. 2015;12(1):24.

Sommer M, Sahin M. Overcoming the Taboo: Advancing the Global Agenda for Menstrual Hygiene Management for Schoolgirls. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(9):1556-9.

Birat Nepal Medical Trust. A Report on Menstrual Hygiene Management Project in Morang, Nepal Birat Nepal Medical Trust. Kathmandu. 2020.