Adolescent girl students enrolled in government educational institutions in Andhra Pradesh will get sanitary napkins free of cost. Chief minister YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy will distribute the sanitary napkins under the “Swechha” programme.
The state government introduced the initiative keeping in view the health and hygiene of women and adolescent girls.
Under this initiative, 10 sanitary napkins will be given every month to about 10 lakh adolescent girls studying from 7th-12th grades in all government schools and intermediate colleges across the state.
The programme is intended to reduce the absenteeism of girl students during menstruation and prioritise their hygiene and health.
Apart from this, quality napkins at affordable prices will be made available in all YSR Cheyutha stores for women in urban and rural areas.
Once every two months, the officials will visit the schools and distribute napkins to the girl students studying in 10,388 schools and colleges across the state. In addition, the government, in partnership with UNICEF, WASH, and P&G, will be conducting special awareness classes on menstruation and the importance of health and hygiene.
According to the water supply and sanitation collaborative council, almost 23 per cent of girls in India drop out of school due to lack of access to sanitary napkins, lack of proper facilities in schools and colleges, including basic amenities such as running water in toilets, and lack of disposal facilities. Similarly, National Family Health Survey – 4 (2015–16) stated that only 56 per cent of women aged between 15-24 years use sanitary napkins, whereas in National Family Health Survey – 5 (2019–20), it was found that the number increased to 69 per cent.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March this year, the state government had brought Sweccha programme under the purview of the ministry of women and child welfare to create awareness on menstrual hygiene