In a laudable move, free sanitary napkins would be distributed in schools from classes six to 12 by the Uttar Pradesh government as part of the 'Kishori Suraksha Yojana' initiated by the state. All district magistrates (DMs) would be held responsible for its successful implementation. An official said, "This will reduce the absenteeism of girls in schools during their periods. The move follows growing concerns over personal hygiene of girls attaining puberty."
Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan said, "Nodal teachers will be appointed by the education department to distribute sanitary napkins and give related information in the presence of Accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers. To break the wrong opinions and myths in the girls concerning menses, it is a must initiative."
Government officials pointed out that over 40% girls drop out of schools owing to the hormonal changes in the body, the physical and mental effect, and due to the hesitation and lack of information. A circular signed by the chief secretary has been issued to all DMs and the health, primary and higher secondary education, Panchayati Raj and Information and Public Relations departments have been asked to coordinate the scheme.
Officials said, "A major publicity campaign for girls to use sanitary napkins to enable them to understand their importance and use after purchasing would also be launched soon. Instructions have also been issued for schools to arrange dustbins at clean and dry places in schools for the disposal of sanitary napkins."
Besides, education officials and teachers would have to compulsorily undergo menstrual hygiene (menses management) training workshops in all districts, so that girls get the maximum information related to cleanliness. Many view this as a major initiative that would go a long way in ensuring personal hygiene among teenage girls and also making sure that they do not miss school during their periods.