Nagaland: IPS Officer Takes Strong Measures to Break Menstruation Taboo
- Muskan Khandelwal
- Published on 28 Sep 2022, 1:23 pm IST
- 3 minutes read
- 2016-batch IPS officer Pritpal Kaur, SP of Noklak district, Nagaland, is on a mission to create awareness about menstrual hygiene
- On her advice, the Weaving Women Cooperative Society of Noklak is now stitching sanitary pads for the women of the district
- After the awareness campaign was launched, there has been a significant decline in the cases of uterus infection
- IPS Officer Pritpal Kaur, SP, Noklak District, Nagaland with Weaving Women Cooperative Society
Talking about menstruation is considered taboo in most societies, often inhibiting women from speaking out about any related problems that can lead to health complications. So to prevent this and break the taboo, IPS officer Pritpal Kaur, who is posted in Noklak district of Nagaland as SP, is on a mission to create awareness amongst the local women about the need of menstrual hygiene.
Speaking with Indian Masterminds, Ms. Pritpal Kaur, IPS, shared details about the initiative.
AWARENESS ON MENSTRUAL HYGIENE
2016-batch IPS officer Pritpal Kaur, who is a doctor also, is the first SP of Noklak as the district is newly created. She said that it has very few departments, so, because she is a lady officer and a doctor, some ladies from the villages approached her and discussed about some problems related to uterus.
“Noklak has a lot of HIV cases as well, so, I thought that there must be some other problem which they do not know. So we decided to consult with doctors. They informed that women from far away villages do not have proper knowledge about menstrual hygiene and it is quite difficult for them to coordinate and contact others on how to maintain it,” the officer said.
That’s when she thought about creating awareness about the need for menstrual hygiene among the women folk. When she started educating them, she realised that almost none of them knew about sanitary pads and many of them had not heard about menstrual hygiene. The officer then joined the Weaving Women Cooperative Society of the district that is basically into weaving traditional clothes and jewellery and discussed the problem with the members.
The women there shared that sanitary pads are very costly, so they prefer to use cloth only. “I told them, what if they themselves start stitching sanitary pads and sell them in the district.”
Soon, after coordinating with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), the weaving society got the machines from Maharashtra. The police department transported and installed the machines. “It all happened during the Covid pandemic and NIF could not come here to help us in giving training. So, the women took online training. Networks were quite bad, but we tried our best,” Ms. Kaur told Indian Masterminds.
STITCHING AND SELLING
The weaving society started selling the pads at a cost of Rs. 5 per piece but gave away free of cost to those who cannot afford it. Ms. Kaur said that with the money they were earning they could purchase the raw material for further manufacturing of the sanitary pads. This is helping the women in getting employment and the confidence that they can also work and earn.
Ms. Kaur said, “Those who don’t want to purchase sanitary pads can stitch a cloth pad which can be used for about 6 months and should be properly washed and dried under the sun. We are teaching how to properly dry the cloth pad and how to dispose a used pad to the first-time users.”
Till now nine villages have been covered with regard to pads and almost all the villages have been covered for hygiene purpose. As a result, cases of uterus infection have come down significantly.
“Menstruation is a stigma in most places, but since I am a woman, I thought that we should break this stigma. We should respect things that mother nature has given to us,” she said in conclusion.
END OF THE ARTICLE
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