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Locally-made sanitary napkin reduces health risks at Bhola

By Hasnain Ahmed Munna

BHOLA, April 15, 2018 (BSS) - With a view to making sanitary napkins available and affordable for low-income group of people living in coastal areas of Bhola, a private organisation has taken initiative to produce sanitary napkins.

Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust (Coast Trust) with the support of Department of Public Health Engineering and UNICEF has taken an initiative to provide sanitary napkin named 'Shanti Sanitary Napkins' to low-income villagers at comparatively cheaper price.

Coordinator of Coast Trust Integrated Ending Child Marriage (IECM) Project Mizanur Rahman said earlier, women of poor families could not use napkin for its cost causing many diseases among them.

Now, health risks in the areas have reduced to a great extent because of the hand-made napkins which are now available at reasonable price.

Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust started the activities in the middle of 2016 at Aminabad and Rasulpur unions under Charfashion upazila, sadar upazila and Ghuenggarhat and Bheduria unions.

According to UNICEF (Water and Sanitation) official M Forkan Ahmed, low- income families of Bhola could not use healthy napkins and during the menstrual period, many of them remained absent at school and college.

"We are working to increase the use of sanitary napkins in order to reduce health risks of adolescent girls and women," he said.

"The coastal population could not use sanitary napkins because of socio- economic constraints. Currently, middle-class women and adolescents are using these napkins. As a result, the health risk of the teenager has declined to a great extent," he added.

The adolescents are producing napkins and sell those in local markets at low-cost. They are also raising awareness among locals about the importance of using sanitary napkin.

As a result, using sanitary napkins has increased among women and adolescents, he said, adding, the low-cost 'Shanti Sanitary Napkin' has become very popular in the region.

During visit at different factories, it was found that adolescents were making napkins in a healthier way using refined cotton, net and bandage cloth.

Nihar, Khadija, Aklima, Shima along with the others have become self- reliant working at different factories.

"In 2016, I started 'Shanti Sanitary Napkin' with 15 students of various schools and colleges under the direction of Coast Trust, funded by UNICEF," factory entrepreneur Nurtaj Aktar told BSS.

"The factory produces 50-100 napkin packets daily and these napkins are healthy and cheaper", she added.

Using napkins during menstrual, women and adolescents are now safe from many diseases, said Civil Surgeon of the district Dr Rathindranath Majumder.

M Osman, entrepreneur of a napkin factory 'Banker Hat', said it would be possible to reach napkins at low prices to the neighbouring districts.

If the use of hygienic napkin can be ensured, many diseases can be prevented easily, he added.

Nihar Begum, who works at a sanitary napkin factory, said, "My father is a farmer. It is very difficult for him to maintain an eight-member family."

"That's why I started earning. I want to work along with my study to assist my father, " she added.