Sanitary napkin brand 'Stayfree' manufacturer Johnson & Johnson implemented the 'Paheli ki Saheli' programme in Bihar and Jharkhand, after which almost 74 per cent girls in Bihar and 76 per cent in Jharkhand now use sanitary pads and cloth, an increase when compared to 50 per cent and 46 per cent in the two states respectively before the programme, according to the manufacturer.
The initiative, launched by Johnson & Johnson and supported by Unicef for the past six years, has brought in a significant change in menstrual hygiene and better disposal practices.
As per "Stayfree", a report by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) 2011-12 states that only 38 per cent menstruating girls in India spoke to their mothers about menstruation while a 2015 survey by the Education Ministry found that in 63 per cent schools in villages, teachers never discussed menstruation and how to deal with it in a hygienic manner.
According to the firm, the access to sanitary napkins, information and knowledge on menstrual hygiene showed an immediate impact on school attendance as 97 per cent approved of attending school during menstruation.
Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, Representative, Unicef India said: "It is just not right that adolescent girls feel the need to miss school due to the pain or stain associated with menstruation. The partnership with Stayfree has created robust communication tools which have equipped girls and people in their ecosystem with necessary life skills on managing this issue."