Today is World Menstrual Hygiene Day, a global initiative to raise awareness around the challenges women and girls face around menstruation, and to highlight solutions that address these challenges. World Menstrual Hygiene Day is commemorated every year on 28th of May and serves as a reminder that millions of girls around the world still struggle with basic hygiene every month across the world. According to Delhi-based Dermatologist Dr. Deepali Bharadwaj, "82 percent of women in India still do not use pads. In most rural areas, women use ash, paper, dirty cloth etc instead of sanitary pads. Most girls are asked to stop going to school as menstrual cycles are considered impure." Myths around periods like 'do not visit the temple during periods,' 'do not touch pickles' and 'do not enter the kitchen' continue to prevail in some parts of the country.
Deepanjan Charitable Trust, run by Dr. Deepali Bharadwaj organised an event at the India International Centre, New Delhi, with the aim to spread awareness and empower women and young girls to manage their challenge in the best possible way. Many dignitaries including Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel, Members of Parliament Meenkashi Lekhi and Manoj Tiwari are expected to attend the event.
Not using sanitary pads and resorting to other methods during the monthly cycle leads to various health problems that may include infections, tuberculosis and lacerations. Education and awareness around menstrual hygiene and sanitary pads is a necessity that can help women realise how this cycle, if not taken care of, can affect their health in more ways than one. Fortunately, conversation in the public pscae around menstruation have started to pick up steam. Everyone knows about Arunachalam Muruganantham, an entrepreneur from Coimbatore who manufactured inexpensive sanitary pads; in fact, last year's blockbuster Padman, staring Akshay Kumar and Radhika Apte was based on his inspirational story. On the other hand, there is also a group called Saathi began working on sustainable solutions to sanitary waste disposal. The team used banana fibre, considered a waste product for farmers, to make bio-degradable pads. Moreover, this provides an additional source of income for the farmers.
Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018: Foods to Eat and Avoid During Periods
Menstruation is a regular biological function and the stigma around it needs to be removed. Certain foods can help replenish the loss of blood and fluids around this time. One must ensure adding iron-rich foods like kale chane, sprouts, saag, spinach, jaggery, fruits and vitamin C in your diet regularly. Iron helps increase haemoglobin, especially during these days when we lose most blood. Vitamin C also helps reduce the pain and muscle cramps that can leave you lethargic and fatigued. It is important for women to keep themselves hydrated, especially during summers. Dr Deepali suggests that anyone suffering from cramps shouldn't eat heavy foods and should instead load up on a lot of curd. Other foods that you must include are turmeric, unripe papaya, aloe vera, ginger, cumin seeds and cinnamon among others.