New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) A women’s intimate hygiene brand using banana fibre as an absorbant to make sanitary pads has been awarded the ‘Best Social Initiative on Menstrual Hygiene’ at the third Menstrual Hygiene Management India Summit held recently.
'Saukhyam' reusable pads, a Mata Amritanandamayi Math project, are made by women self-help groups in various states of the country in recognition of the brand's endeavour to empower women in rural areas.
Made from banana fibre and cotton cloth, these menstrual pads cost just one-tenth of the conventional ones, the company said.
Health experts too now recommend cloth sanitary pads for a healthy menstrual cycle, it said.
“Over five years ago, WaterAid India and UNICEF, following a survey, claimed that lack of access to toilets and sanitary pads in schools cause over a third of girls in South Asia to miss school. This led to the coinage of the term ‘period poverty,” said Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder and Chairman, HEAL Foundation. Despite tangible evidence about chemicals getting absorbed in body and causing reproductive harm, women are often very hesitant when it comes to choosing good quality sanitary products. In India, around 35.5 crore women need sanitary pads and a majority of them are in rural areas. With awareness and by making reusable menstrual pads accessible, women can be empowered to choose what best suits them, added Srivastava.
Deliberating on the health advantages and safe use of reusable pads, Dr Radhamany K, Prof and HoD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, said, “As awareness about chemical additives that disposable pads contain is on the rise, reusable variants are being favoured more. As long as they are washed and dried properly, reusable sanitary pads are completely safe.
"Disposable pads are also harmful to the environment. The absorbent material in such pads is cellulose fibre which is sourced by cutting trees. Switching to reusable options for intimate care also saves trees and in turn helps in combating climate change," she said.
Saukhyam reusable pads have also been honoured with the Most Innovative Product Award by the National Institute of Rural Development.
The project was lauded at the UN Climate Change Conference (2018) in Poland for its sustainable financing mechanism. Last year, NITI Aayog honoured Saukhyam with the Women Transforming India Award. PTI PLB SRY SRY