Taking the next step forward for making sanitary napkins accessible to tribal and economically weaker women, Dr Bharati Lavekar, a BJP MLA, from the Mumbai is going to open a sanitary napkin bank.
The bank will be called ‘Ti Foundation Sanitary Pad Bank’.
Dr Lavekar has been known for prominently raising the issue of highly priced sanitary napkins and their unaffordability for poor women in the Maharashtra state assembly, she came up with an idea to establish a bank for sanitary napkins, in order to create awareness about menstrual hygiene among the economically weaker section of the society.
It is claimed to be the first sanitary napkin bank in country.
The bank will provide sanitary napkins to tribal women without any prior checking of identity. Non-tribal women will have to present their orange ration card to register in the bank. Once registered, they will get 10 sanitary pads per month. Women can also register through Facebook and by visiting the office or by making a phone call.
On being asked what prompted her to take this step Dr Bharati Lavekar, from Versova, said “Only 15 per cent women in India can afford to buy sanitary napkins. Rest of them still use cloths and other means which are viable to them. This becomes a factor which causes severe infections and increases risk of cervical cancer. Sanitary napkins are essential for menstrual hygiene as 27 per cent of women die due to cervical cancer. That’s why I am going to open sanitary napkin bank.”
The bank of sanitary napkins will be inaugurated on May 28, as this day is celebrated as the Menstruation Hygiene Day.
Prior to this Dr Lavker had initiated installing sanitary napkin vending and disposable machines in schools and public toilets. She had raised the issue of affordability of sanitary pads in Maharashtra assembly before and received special permission to install vending machines through her MLA fund.
“Now all MLAs have got permission to spend their funds on this cause. My motive is to raise awareness about this issue. I don’t want it to be restricted to only my constituency. This small initiative should be turned into a state level movement.”
In spite of the limited access to most of women, proper disposal of sanitary napkins remains a big challenge. That’s why Dr Lavekar wants emphasizes on the installation of disposable machines.
She said, “Sanitary napkins if not dispose of properly can create major troubles. We receive complaints from housing societies regarding choking of pipelines due to sanitary napkins. These societies too have demanded disposable machines. After being thrown in garbage, used pads become notorious for sanitation workers. It is important to spread awareness about its proper disposal. It should be made part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.”