In an effort to ensure sanitary hygiene, Tamil Nadu government has decided to distribute free sanitary napkins under its Menstrual Hygiene Programme.
Under this programme, the napkins will be supplied in ‘dignity kits’ which will also have other items needed for menstrual care to adolescent girls in urban and rural areas, postnatal mothers delivered in the government health institutions, and women prisoners.
This order was issued after the Chief Minister E Palaniswami announced the extension of Menstrual Hygiene Scheme in the state legislative assembly. This scheme, which is being implemented in the rural areas for about nine years, will now be extended to urban areas at a cost of Rs 44 crore.
The state is planning to procure sanitary napkins for girls in the 10-19 age group in urban areas at a cost of Rs 34.74 crore, and for women in-patients in the 15-49 age group at a cost of Rs 9.4 crore.
As per the order, the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has sent the proposal for the extension of Menstrual Hygiene Programme in the urban areas and scaling up of the scheme to women inpatients in 781 government medical institutions.
The scheme is set to cover close to 1,000 health centres in the metro cities and several schools. The government is planning to cover a majority of adolescent girls in urban areas by supplying sanitary pads directly to government schools. The rest will go to nurses in urban areas and ICDS centres.
The urban women, who will not be covered in government schools, will receive napkins from Anganwadi workers on Saturdays. These healthcare workers will also visit homes to provide sanitary kit to women receiving post-natal care.
If women are in their reproductive age group (which according to the state government is 20-49 years) and are in government hospitals, they will also get free sanitary napkin kits. The same goes for women in post-natal care admitted in state hospitals.
A central government initiative, this scheme was implemented in Tamil Nadu by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2011 to cater to the rural areas, and has been functional ever since then.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)