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Menstrual Health and role of CSR

Conference on Menstrual Health

CSR Advisors and Wockhardt Foundation along with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – India Research Center, conducted a roundtable to discuss issues concerned with Menstrual Health and the Role of Corporate Social Responsibility. The discussion aimed at highlighting the challenges faced by women in managing menstrual health and identifying plausible solutions to address the same.

Eminent personalities who have worked towards the cause of menstrual hygiene were part of the roundtable. Sir Dr Huz inaugurated the discussion followed by Mr Arunachalam Muruganantham, Social Entrepreneur and the inspiration behind the movie Padman, who addressed the gathering through a video conference. Mr R Balki stressed on the need to create awareness on menstrual health management. Prof Sivakami Muthusamy from Tata Institute of Social Sciences highlighted the key factors that have been affecting menstrual health management in India, and Mr Prabhat Pani from Tata Trusts and Ms Naghma Mulla from Edelgive Foundation discussed the ways CSR could become a game changer towards addressing this issue.

Menstrual hygiene remains a cause of concern for a lot of rural women in India who are deprived of the most basic health facilities. A 2014 UNICEF report pointed out that in Tamil Nadu, 79 per cent girls and women were unaware of menstrual hygiene practices. The percentage was 66% in Uttar Pradesh, 56% in Rajasthan and 51% in West Bengal.

Dr Huz, Founder and CEO, Wockhardt Foundation, CSR Advisors said, “Issues of Menstrual Health Management impact millions of girls across the country. There are myths and taboos that cause a lot of pain and anguish. Girls drop-out of schools and the work-force and this also negatively affects the country’s economy. We must increase awareness and education to break out of the cycle of ignorance and taboos, provide access to proper sanitation facilities and ensure hygienic practices during the menstrual cycle, including access to safe, low-cost and high-quality sanitary products.”

Asmita Satyarthi, Director, CSR Advisors said, “CSR Advisors is committed to creating collaborative partnerships for social change. This conference is the first step to bring various stakeholders together on one platform to discuss this very important issue. Corporates must take a lead in creating a culture of togetherness and collaboration. Menstrual Health affects us all. It isn’t just a female issue; it is every person’s issue.”

Ananya Awasthi, Assistant Director, Harvard Chan India Research Center said, “The Center is committed to improving health in India and around the world through research, training and knowledge dissemination. We welcome the efforts of CSR in India towards positively impacting public health, including Menstrual Health Management which is a very important issue.”

With a range of initiatives being born towards managing this issue, it is soon gaining traction among various social service groups. Corporate Social Responsibility can play a vital role in spreading awareness about this problem while also addressing the need for better sanitation options.