ITANAGAR, Apr 17: PHE&WS Minister Bamang Felix said the state government will take up the recommendations made by experts on menstrual hygiene in the state on a ‘mission mode’, the way it did in achieving the open-defecation status.
“Forward the recommendations to the government and we will take care of it,” said Felix, addressing the inaugural function of a two-day workshop on menstrual hygiene management, which began at the state banquet hall here on Tuesday.
He, however, admitted that there is improper supply of free sanitary pads to schools in the state, especially in the rural areas.
Felix suggested that the participating doctors, accredited social health activists (ASHA) and resource persons hold discussions and exchange ideas on all aspects of menstrual hygiene during the workshop, so that a mechanism might be evolved to tackle the issue.
He highlighted how being open to talks on menstrual health and hygiene could help spread awareness. He also called for carrying out intensive IEC (Information Education and Communication) activities with the support of the ASHAs.
Earlier, a panel discussion was held, during which resource persons, Deane De Mendes – founder of Mumbai-based NGO Red is the New Green – and the NGO’s members Dr Kranti Rayamane and Dr Madhuri Rayamane, along with ASHAs and chief engineers of the department discussed problems faced by them in educating people about menstrual hygiene, problems faced by adolescent girls, how menstruation is still a taboo even in the tribal society although it is a natural and normal biological process experienced by all girls and women, and how it is not spoken about openly.
Social activist Toko Mina and CDPO Ponung Moyong highlighted the lack of toilets and water supply in schools in the state.
There are over 50, 000 adolescent girls in the state and a little over 6000 anganwadi centres, and most of them lack proper hygiene and water supply, Moyong said.
“If a young girl does not have the opportunity to be a healthy woman, she will not give birth to a healthy child,” she said, and urged the department concerned to ensure that all such facilities are made available for better growth of young girls.
The two-day workshop will feature discussion on the female and male reproductive systems, the process of menstruation and its management, hygiene measures, safe disposal, problem faced during menstruation, communication, planning sessions with adolescents, etc.
The workshop is being conducted by the PHE&WS department, under the Swachh Bharat Mission, in collaboration with Red is the New Green and the Aga Khan Health Services, India.