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Coronavirus sparks a sanitary pad crisis in India :

The covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of lockdown have resulted in the worsened condition of women in the nation. As a consequence of the sudden isolation, access to menstrual hygiene products has been severely impacted. The women are unable to maintain menstrual hygiene during periods which has caused hazardous impacts on their health. We live in a society where talking about menstruation istaboo. In a nation where every year around 2 million girls start to bleed, we consider it shameful to talk about periods. The females grow up facing restrictions of not entering the religious places during this time and are considered to be impure. The question here is, “Why always a period on periods?” and “Will the situation ever normalise?”  


Well, this remains unanswered. The disasters have never stopped the sufferings. However, they add to them. This lockdown has proved to be a catastrophic enemy for the women as it has halted the supply of menstrual products like pads and cotton. The females in many parts of the nation are put into a situation that has forced them to use clothes and even banana leaves leading to fatal infections. The ones who are having restricted mobility to purchase pads are left with no choice amidst this pandemic. 


A study by MHAI (Menstrual Health Alliance of India) was released during a workshop held by Dasra. In the workshop, a quick survey was conducted to assess the status of production, distribution, and reach of the menstrual hygiene products during the lockdown. The results stated that around 62% of people have limited access to the pads and 22% are not getting them at all.  


It is a time where the primary concern for the relief shelters is food, water, testing kits, and medicines, menstrual products are not being considered as an essential commodity.


 


When the women who are quarantined are not getting these products, then the question of migrant women getting them does not arise. The conditions have forced them to shift to clothes and rags. The ones who are getting these are having an access to a limited quantity only and hence they are using it for longer durations than recommended. 


If we broadly look at the present situation, both the rural and urban population is deprived of the basic necessity to maintain their hygiene during periods. However, the rural population faces another threat of unawareness which makes them more vulnerable. There have been deaths due to the infections caused by unhygienic practices during menses, but they have not been reported yet. Nearly 40% of the females of our nation are unaware of menstrual hygiene and this lack of awareness can cause them a life! And with the ongoing situation, things have gone downhill. The lack of aids like pads and cotton, the discontinuous supply of water, and other necessities. The small-scale industry has stopped and large-scale industries are unable to reach the needy. The supply is discontinuous and the demands are not fulfilled. The lockdown has made women more vulnerable to disease.  


Very few people are coming to help these women, to supply the necessary products required for maintaining their menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. Red is considered to be the color of love, then why the love changes to disgust when it to comes to periods?  


Google defines menstruation as “A normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as a part of a woman’s monthly cycle. Every month, the female body prepares for reproduction, if no pregnancy occurs the womb sheds its lining.” Here, in this definition the ache faced by the girl is latent.  


 


People are coming forward to talk about the plight of migrants, the sufferings of small-scale businessmen, the problems of the daily wage workers, and even the lives of the animals. But there is a period on periods! Not shocking but pathetic. We as a nation have grown so much in the past few decades. We have revolutionised ourselves and have liberalised our mindsets. But, are we liberal enough to talk about periods publicly? is the question. 


 


Society is revolutionised when mindsets change. The help is not always physical. Sometimes mental help can bring in huge changes. Hence it is time to break the taboo and talk about periods in every way possible. 

If you ask me, do we need more films like PADMAN to raise awareness? I would probably say we need more men like him . 


Tags: #pandemic #covid19 #sanitation #safety


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