04:02 GMT +320 October 2019
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    (File) Members of Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) make low cost sanitary pads at their facility in Ahmedabad on September 3, 2012

    India Launches 4 Cent Biodegradable Sanitary Pads Under Public Health Scheme

    © AFP 2019 / SAM PANTHAKY
    Asia & Pacific
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    The Indian government's sanitary napkins are aimed at not only combating the ill-effects of plastic and other non-degradable materials most modern sanitary pads are made of but also at providing rural and poor women with much-needed access to affordable menstrual hygiene products.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): In a unique attempt to promote menstrual hygiene among women of all strata, the government of India has launched an affordable biodegradable sanitary pad brand to be sold through government-owned pharmaceutical outlets.

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    Launching the product called "Suvidha," which is claimed by the government to be 100 percent oxo-biodegradable sanitary pad, Union Minister Ananth Kumar underlined on Thursday that it was part of the government initiative to provide affordable and quality healthcare for all. The disbursal and production of the Suvidha sanitary pads will be undertaken under the Pradhan Mantri Janaushadi Pariyojana (PMBJP), the Narendra Modi-led government's ambitious scheme aimed at providing health facilities to the masses.

    "The sanitary napkin will be available for Rs. 2.50 (around 4 cents) per pad at over 3,200 Janaushadhi Kendras across India and would ensure 'Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidha' for the underprivileged women of India," Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar told media during the launch.

    Swachhta, swasthya and suvidha are Hindi words for cleanliness, health, and ease of use.

    Suvidha napkins will be available in the country by May 28, 2018 — World Menstrual Hygiene Day, the minister said.

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    Menstruation is considered taboo in India, causing women to be secretive about the products they use to dispose menstrual blood. Complications arising out of lack of access to hygienic products often go untreated.

    According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 percent of women aged between 15 and 24 years use locally prepared napkins and tampons. Further, about 78 percent women in urban areas use unhygienic methods of protection during menstruation and only 48 percent women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.

    Such unhygienic aids cause fungal infections, reproductive tract infection, urinary tract infection, cervical cancer and also make women vulnerable to infertility, according to the survey. Moreover, the disposal of non-biodegradable sanitary napkins available in the market adds to environmental concerns.

    The initiative has gathered positive reactions among social media users.


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