Today is World Menstrual Hygiene Day

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The main idea behind marking this day is to change the social stigma associated with menstruation

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The theme for World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020 is ‘Periods in Pandemic’

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The theme highlights how the challenges faced by women during menstruation have worsened due to the ongoing pandemic.

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UNICEF tweeted: Periods don’t stop for pandemics - it’s every girl’s right to manage her period safely and with dignity

A recent survey by the Menstrual Health Alliance of India states 62% of women are facing difficulty accessing menstrual hygiene products during the lockdown.

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The survey also reports a drop in the manufacturing of menstrual hygiene products with almost 50% of manufacturers functioning at reduced capacity.

Over 15 – 40% of girls in the developing world do not attend school during their periods

Image Source: UNICEF

This is due to lack of access to sanitary napkins, toilets, sanitation and adequate privacy.

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In many parts of India, women in many homes are not allowed to cook or touch anyone during their period as they are considered impure and dirty

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All this social shame can prevent women from talking openly about menstruation, meaning many girls are not taught safe, hygienic practices

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Further, rural India and many urban areas lack routine menstrual waste collection mechanisms

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According to Developed by Menstrual Health Alliance of India, when girls lack disposal facilities, they may use pads for a longer duration than recommended resulting in unhygienic use

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Though, Government of India (both at the centre and states) and NGOs are creating awareness about menstrual hygiene and safe practices, particularly among adolescent girls

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Access to sanitary pads in India has increased significantly in both rural and urban locations, owing to the efforts of the government

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Cost barriers have reduced with low cost variants more widely available through local production, free distribution, and subsidised prices