Bhubaneswar: In a bid to create awareness among adolescent girls residing in urban slums on menstrual health and hygiene, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) in collaboration with UNFPA India organized a special orientation workshop under the Socially Smart Bhubaneswar initiative in the city on Monday.
The aim of the workshop was to address the crucial issue of menstrual hygiene and create a sense of ease among young adolescent girls for discussing this topic among themselves as well as within their family. The workshop titled ‘Asantu Katha Heba’ (Come, Let’s Talk) was organized at the BMC Conference hall on the occasion of the World Menstrual Hygiene Day, on Monday.
As many as 100 adolescent girls from the slum areas of Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD) participated in the workshop which was attended by ASHA workers and officials of BSCL, BMC and volunteers of Humara Bachpan.
“To break the taboo of discussing menstrual hygiene in public, Bollywood had to ride on the film ‘Pad Man’, helmed by superstar Akshay Kumar. This film though to some extent has eased the shyness of discussing the topic among a certain section of people, for many young girls and women living in vulnerable places such as urban slums, it still continues to be a taboo,” said the organizers.
Speaking on the occasion O&G specialist and Indian Medical Association, State Women’s Wing secretary Dr. Reetanjali Mishra briefed the girls on menstrual hygiene, its importance and impact on their health.
Asserting that it is very much necessary to discuss menstrual hygiene, she elaborated on various ways of maintaining sound menstrual health among adolescent girls and women. Stating that lack of physical activity is the reason why around 60% of girls are not having regular menstruations, she advised the participants to give due importance to physical activity in their daily routine.
She further advised them to eat a lot of green vegetables as well as iron and folic acid tablets keeping in mind that average 50 ml of blood go away during every menstruation cycle.
Addressing the participants, Dr. Chayanika Mishra, consultant to SC & ST department exhorted the girls to shun shyness and freely discuss such issues among friends and family. Advising the participants to follow healthy practices and use sanitary napkins to maintain good hygiene, which is very important for them as young adolescents.
She also had a word of caution for proper disposal of sanitary waste to keep the environment clean. Among others Binaya K Dash, ZDC (South-East), BMC, Bijay K Swain, GM (Operation), BSCL were present on the occasion.
A special Menstruation Hygiene Kit comprising a poster and a brochure describing menstruation health and hygiene, a sanitary towel, sanitary napkin and a bottle of liquid sanitary wash was presented to each participant.
“I learnt from this program that we have to follow hygiene and keep ourselves clean to be healthy. Also, the myth of not to cook or not to touch anyone at this time is false, which is good to know and I will also tell my other friends about it,” Usha Bisoyi, a Class X student of Shantinagar slum said.
Echoing her sentiments Class IX student from Govt. High School, Sahed Nagar said “I will go and tell my mother what all I have learnt in this workshop. This type of workshop is good as it now makes us aware of the fact that menstruation is not a bad thing. I will share it with other girls younger to me so that they also can be made aware of it beforehand.”