October 27, 2020

Hygiene push at grassroots

Patna: Over 1.5 lakh women in Bihar will be trained in menstrual hygiene management so that they can play the role of peer educators in their respective areas.

Women Development Corporation’s managing director N. Vijaya Lakshmi on Monday announced that 100 women each from 1,640 panchayats – 20 per cent of 8,200 panchayats across Bihar – will be trained under a pilot programme . A total of 1,64,000 women will then be trained as part of the programme.

Vijaya Lakshmi made the announcement at a state-level programme on menstrual hygiene management organised by the corporation with support from Unicef to mark Global Menstrual Hygiene Day on Monday. Social welfare minister Manju Verma inaugurated an adolescent cell on the occasion, and also unveiled the cell’s logo created by girls and boys.

Vijaya Lakshmi said the cell will help bring better convergence and coordination among all programmes and schemes for adolescents – including health, education, protection and empowerment. “Menstrual hygiene awareness would be one of the initiatives of the adolescent cell,” she said.

Unicef chief Asadur Rahman praised the creation of the adolescent cell. “Adolescents aged between 10 and 19 years in Bihar comprise 22.47 per cent of the population according to the 2011 census. Of them, 59.5 per cent belong to the 10-14 years and the rest in the 15-19 years. Women comprise nearly 46 per cent in Bihar, so creation of the adolescent cell was a much-needed initiative,” he said, also speaking on the Unicef’s initiative to address menstrual hygiene. “The Unicef has started a social and behaviour change communication initiative, targeted at adolescents and the community, in two districts to address taboos and myths around menstrual practices. It has helped bring significant change in perception, attitudes and behaviour of people.”

In phase II, he said, the focus will be on mainstreaming and scaling up of the menstrual health and hygiene management components through strengthening institutional capacity in government-led adolescent programmes.

Social activist Sudha Varghese also attended the programme and spoke on crude and unhygienic practices related to menstruation that has killed many. Speaking about a woman from Munger who died because of using ash-filled cloths for menstruation, Varghese said sanitary napkins are easily available in the country now, and no more considered a luxury like earlier.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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