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New Delhi, Dec 12 – Sulabh Sanitation Mission Foundation here on Monday released a report on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in India, which stated that there is a lot of stigma and silence around menstruation leading to huge health complications.

The report titled “Combating the Silence from Menarche to Menopause” focuses on marginalized, remote, and vulnerable populations and makes key recommendations for equitable access to menstrual hygiene and health resources.

The report maps the community beliefs and taboos and provides evidence on existing MHM practices, intersectoral correlations, and data on women’s engagement with health infrastructure and with public policy.

The study also presented a lifecycle approach to menstruation and goes beyond adolescent girls to include the voices of Elder and Ageing Menstruating Women (EAMW) between 24-49 years of age.

Addressing the gathering after releasing the report, the President of Sulabh International, Kumar Dilip said, “The research fulfills an important knowledge gap in the challenges in MHM that Elder and Ageing Menstruating Women, as well as adolescent girls, face more especially in the Country’s remote, backward and poorer areas.

“I am optimistic that the study will guide policymakers, researchers and those working in MHM towards adopting newer policies and programs that address this vital need for the well-being of women and girls in India” he added.

Nirja Bhatnagar, the Project Leader of the Research Project said, “The journey from Menarche to Menopause is a significant part of a woman’s life, yet there is a lot of stigma and silence around menstruation leading to huge health complications.

MHM is not about distributing pads, but more importantly, it is about addressing harmful cultural practices, the voice of women, and their safe access to health services, sanitation & washing facilities.”

“Sulabh has been at the forefront in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) for over five decades, and through this research, it seeks to engage with stakeholders in creating a robust MHM roadmap that we can implement across the country” she further added.

As per the official statement, the study was conducted in 14 districts (11 districts Aspirational) across 7 states of India: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu.

The research involved a sample size of 4839 women and girls in 22 blocks and 84 villages covering diverse ethnicities in the country’s remote areas, it said.

“The findings of the report are expected to supplement the Government of India’s Menstrual Hygiene Policy and its commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” the statement added.