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Ministry of Health and Family Welfare16-June, 2010 10:25 IST
Government Approves Scheme for Menstrual Hygiene
1.5 Crore Girls to Get Low-Cost Sanitary Napkins
In a bid to promote menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls, the Government has approved Rs 150 Crore scheme to increase access to and use of high quality sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in rural areas. The scheme envisages supplying a pack of six sanitary napkins to Below Poverty Line (BPL) girls at a nominal cost of Re. 1 per pack. All girls in the Above Poverty Line (APL) category will be charged Rs. 5 per pack of Sanitary napkins (or the final determined cost in the state). The Decision was approved by the Mission Steering Group of National Rural Health Mission chaired by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad and attended by Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Shri CP Joshi and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Shri Montek Singh Ahluwalia among others, here yesterday.

This initiative will roll out in phases, with 25% of the country being covered in the first phase, i.e. 150 districts (1500 blocks) out of a total of approximately 600 districts. In the first year, this will be rolled out in 150 districts across the country, of which 30 districts will be from the four Southern States, Maharashtra and Gujarat, and 120 districts will be in the Northern, Central and NE states. In this phase the initiative will be focused in rural areas. The calculations in this proposal are based upon a target population of 1.5 crore girls in the age group of 10-19 years. Out of these, 1.5 crore girls, the approximate proportion of APL girls is about 70% (105 lakhs) and that of BPL girls is 30% (45 lakhs).

In its totality, the scheme aims to increase awareness among adolescent girls on Menstrual Hygiene, increase access to and use of high quality sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in rural areas and will ensure safe disposal of sanitary napkins in an environmentally friendly manner. At the community level, ASHA will be responsible for ensuring an adequate supply of Sanitary napkins for adolescent girls who require them. The Sunday meeting by ASHA would be the key forum to enable this regular supply. ASHA will also contact girls in their homes who are unable to attend meetings to ensure that they have a supply of Sanitary Napkins. The role of ASHA in supplying the sanitary napkins is one suggested option. States are free to select other mechanisms in keeping with local context. Incentive for ASHA is built in the scheme, she will get Rs 1 for every pack she sells.

Thus there are two possible ways to source sanitary napkins. Through enabling manufacture by SHG groups in the states, given that across the country under various national and state programmes under Women & Child Development, Rural Development, Social Welfare, Women’s Development Corporations, SHG groups are fairly widespread and active. This method of procurement will be applicable in the all 30 districts in the Southern states and 20 districts in the other states, where SHG presence is strong. Second option can be sourcing through sanitary napkin manufactures through a competitive bidding process. This can be done in the 100 districts in Central, Northern and NE states, where SHGs may not yet be mature. The choice of sourcing sanitary napkins will be left to the states. However the states will need to put into place uniform standards for production and quality checks to ensure safety of the product in line with the Bureau of Industrial Standards.

DS/GK
(Release ID :62586)

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