Around 50% of women in J-K use cloth for menstrual protection

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Around half of the women population in Jammu and Kashmir is still using traditional cloth for menstrual protection during periods.

Doctors said that lack of awareness, not affordability is the main issue. They called for creating more awareness in this regard.

Dr Auqfeen Nisar, associated with the Government Medical College, Srinagar and posted in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district said that she has been conducting a hospital-based study in this regard and has prepared a questionnaire. She also ran crowd-funding campaigns to provide sanitary napkins to the poor.

“What I am witnessing is that out of ten, around seven are using pads for menstrual protection during periods while two to three are still using traditional methods,” she said. “In Srinagar, the situation was similar to Ganderbal.”

If we conduct a house-to-house survey, around 50 percent of women would be found using pads, Dr Auqfeen said, adding, “I have been working on it for years and I have observed that affordability isn’t an issue but lack an awareness is, as even who are using pads don’t have knowledge why they are using it rather they use it just that a readymade thing is available.”

“Even if we will provide them with pads free of cost they will use it that time only and once we will stop, they will switch to traditional methods,” she added.

Dr Nisar said there is a need to conduct sessions in the community for females. “We are hopeful that it will prove fruitful for these females.

Officials said there is a government scheme in place through which reproductive age group females are getting 10 pads @ Rs 10 but these pads are sub-standard and cannot be used properly.

Many doctors said there is a need to address the issue as it is very important for them to use pads. Cloths can be used with certain precautions and such precautions are almost impossible, they said.

The doctors said that using pads will keep menstruating women away from infections and other issues. They, however, said that J-K is much better in this regard as compared to other states.

As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), nearly 60 percent of women in Jammu and Kashmir still use cloth for menstrual protection during periods.

As per the survey (2019-2021), merely 50.5 percent of women aged between 15-24 use sanitary napkins. However, the number had swelled from 48.8 percent in NFHS-4 (2015-2016).

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare introduced a scheme for the promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 in rural areas. The sanitary napkin packs, containing 6 pieces each, are branded as “Freedays”. (KNO)

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