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Menstrual hygiene: Odisha providing free sanitary napkins to 17 lakh school girls

Under the scheme, the state is providing free sanitary napkins to 17.25 lakh girls studying in Classes 6 to 12 in government and government-aided schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawaharlal Navodaya Vidyalayas located in the state, said Yamini Sarangi, Managing Director, Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited while speaking at a function here on Saturday.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

The Odisha Government has successfully implemented one of the largest free sanitary napkin distribution programmes under the ‘Khusi’ scheme distributing around 18 crore napkins annually to more than 17 lakh beneficiaries.

Under the scheme, the state is providing free sanitary napkins to 17.25 lakh girls studying in Classes 6 to 12 in government and government-aided schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas and Jawaharlal Navodaya Vidyalayas located in the state, said Yamini Sarangi, Managing Director, Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited while speaking at a function here on Saturday.

The sole objective of the programme is to create awareness of menstrual hygiene and to dispel all myths and taboos associated with such a normal and natural biological process, said Yamini Sarangi, Managing Director, Odisha State Medical Corporation Limited.

Meanwhile in an attempt to get rid of the stigma attached menstrual cycle, the UNICEF and its Odisha partner ‘Aaina’ came together to showcase films, paintings and radio jingles on the need for menstrual hygiene

In a colourful function held here yesterday with the participation of women and young girls, the event showcased the winning entries of Kallola’s flagship short films contest, an exhibition of the winning paintings from the inter-college painting competition and the release of a music video  ‘Kaacha Kandhei’ and radio jingles on the issue of menstrual hygiene and periods talk.

 “Despite being a natural physiological process, menstruation remains the least talked about topic. As a result, many women and adolescent girls suffer from various disorders and health issues due to a lack of awareness on menstrual hygiene,” said Monika Nielsen, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Odisha, while speaking on the occasion..

She further said, “Lack of access to menstrual hygiene and knowledge also leads to school dropout among adolescent girls triggering a negative impact on their entire lives. This year, filmmakers made films on periods as their entries for the Kallola Film Festival, several of them thought-providing and challenging stereotypes. We hope the films will be widely disseminated and will help to change mindsets.”

The Mayor of Bhubaneswar Sulochana Das appreciated Kallola as an initiative and this year’s theme of menstrual health & hygiene. She said,

“Communication is the key and films are a very powerful medium to reach out to people”, she said.