The webinar on “The development of the MHM sector in India: Disposable sanitary napkins: a blessing or a curse?” was a riveting session where experts from different fields explored the achievements and the gaps in promoting menstrual hygiene in India. Here we summarize some key points mentioned by the panelists in as to what needs to happen in this period of change:
Arundati Muralidharan: Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI): The Swach Bharat Mission can serve as an ideal platform to integrate the different menstrual hygiene initiatives of various ministries.
Malti Gadgil (SWaCH, Pune): We need to emphasize not just on providing safe, eco-friendly products for menstrual hygiene products but also to ensure proper disposal of such products. Used disposable sanitary napkins should be wrapped in identifiable, leak-proof bags to facilitate handling and disposal.
Suhani Mohan (Social Entrepreneur): Despite significant barriers to research and innovation, conscious entrepreneurs are working to find biodegradable alternatives replace the various plastic components of disposable pads.
Bharathy Tahiliani (UNICEF Consultant): Marketing and education need to come together. Support adolescent girls and women to make an choice in meeting their menstrual hygiene needs. There is no need to push disposable pads.
Rushil Prakash (Dasra): Encourage the appeal of cloth products by making it an aspirational product.
Lakshmi Murthy (Vikalpdesign): Start a movement to ensure that toilets and public places have the necessary infrastructure to allow for the use of re-usable products
Arundati Muralidharan (PHFI): Create not just the physical infrastructure but also a social and cultural enabling environment that supports the use of reusable products.