World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022: About 500 million women in the world are in the grip of anemia due to lack of facilities, poor sanitation

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World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022: About 500 million women in the world are in the grip of anemia due to lack of facilities, poor sanitation

National Achievement Survey

Image Credit source: ani

According to a report released by the World Bank in 2021, approximately 500 million women and girls globally lack appropriate facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.

Pratibha Pandey

Today the country is worried about the increasing burden of anemia. about a third of the total population anemia is suffering from. National Family Health Survey According to (NFHS-5), India ranks 170th among women in terms of anemia among 180 countries. Mostly during adolescence girls experience various health problems. The most important health problems faced by them are anemia and poor management of menstrual hygiene. There is a connection between anemia and menstrual hygiene with the most common cause of anemia being heavy blood loss during menstruation.

Apart from this, due to anemia, other health problems also arise which affect the physical and cognitive development of women. It further affects the immune system, making girls more prone to infection. Apart from this, some such beliefs are associated with menstruation, such as not consuming sugar, salt and some types of meat in food, due to which women get anemia at an early age. Therefore, the physical and working ability of adolescent girls is badly affected.

According to a report released by the World Bank in 2021, approximately 500 million women and girls globally lack appropriate facilities to manage menstrual hygiene. In these, proper sanitation facilities are not available even in public places such as schools, workplaces and health centres. Additionally, most rural households in India do not have separate toilets and lack the means to dispose of used sanitary napkins. And this is probably the reason why girls find themselves unable to maintain safe menstrual hygiene in a respectful manner.

Apart from this, some such stereotypes related to menstruation, such as women being impure, dirty or sinful during menstruation, add to the problem. If menstrual hygiene is not managed properly, there are chances of urinary or reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted infections. These infections cause excessive bleeding which eventually results in anemia.

National Family Health Survey 5, released in 2021, found that 57 percent of women of childbearing age have anemia. This is the largest number in the world. Additionally, around 57.5 percent of non-pregnant women worldwide are affected by anemia.

Therefore, it is imperative to spread awareness and break the taboos associated with menstruation to reduce the burden of menstrual hygiene management. Some of the steps that can be taken by the stakeholders to address this issue are as follows:

• Creating awareness about proper management of menstrual hygiene and mobilizing communities

• Addressing taboos and culturally harmful practices related to menstruation

• Training mothers on menstrual hygiene management will create peer leaders from community members

• Taking services to the last mile by reviewing the value chain

• By taking advantage of government schemes like Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) to create such an environment in schools which can make adolescent girls more aware about menstrual hygiene.

• Provide locally produced alternatives to sanitary napkins such as cloth pads

• Provide support to self-help groups and entrepreneurs who work on manufacturing sanitary napkins

These are some of the solutions that can be implemented to ensure effective management of menstrual hygiene. But for menstrual hygiene services to reach the last mile without any hiccups, all the stakeholders have to come together. Further evidence-based nationwide data is also needed to establish a cause-effect relationship between anemia and improper menstrual hygiene management. These data will help in the discovery and implementation of measures that will prevent improper menstrual hygiene management.

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