Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021



 May 28, 2021

Amma distributing Saukhyam Pads on North Indian tour 2019.

The vision for Menstrual Hygiene Day is by 2030 to create a world where no woman or girl is held back because she menstruates. This means that every single one is empowered to manage her menstruation safely, hygienically, with confidence and without shame. This includes affordable menstrual products that do not harm our environment.

In India, where women are nearly half of the country’s 1.38 billion people, the sheer volume of menstrual non-biodegradable waste has severe environmental implications. With the majority of the country living in low-middle class backgrounds, observing healthy menstrual hygiene practices with environmentally friendly products relies on sustainability, affordability and education. This is why Amma started the Saukhyam Reusable Pads project.

The international journal BMC Women’s Health, part of Springer Nature, has published the first scientific study conducted by the Saukhyam team—A novel banana fiber pad for menstrual hygiene in India: A feasibility and acceptability study. One hundred fifty-five rural and 216 urban women from Bihar, Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal participated.

The Saukhyam study aimed to examine the health safety of the banana fiber pads and included analysis of CO2 footprint, microbial load, pH, and the ability of the pad to withstand pressure after absorption. Interestingly, the study found the microbial load on a three-year reused banana fiber pad was similar to that of an unused one.

“It is natural for women to ask, ‘How safe is this option especially in the reusable context?’” explains Dr Krishnasree Achuthan. Dr Achuthan is one of the study’s authors and is a professor with the School of Engineering and the School for Sustainable Development at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. “When we explored to answer this, we found a large dearth of scientific studies in this regard.”

“Reusable pads additionally solve the problem of waste and help mitigate climate change,” explains Anju Bist, Saukhyam Pads.

“Amma was our sole inspiration for this work,” concludes Dr Achuthan. “As Amma often emphasizes, it is our duty to protect the planet and offering sustainable, green and affordable options are the only ways to help Mother Earth and her children.”

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