NEW: 'Udita Corners Are Not Active'
Updated: May 12
Q. What are the various menstrual health services delivered in your village and district? What is your role in the process?
Auxiliary Nurse-Midwife (ANM): At present no scheme is being implemented for menstrual health. But in 2016, a related scheme - Udita Yojana - was run. For this, Udita Corners were made in every Anganwadi Centre (AWC). The corners are still there, but are not as active. When the scheme had started it was quite in the trend, but now there is not much craze for it.
Sanitary pads are bought and kept at the AWC by the Anganwadi Worker, so those in need can come to the centre and buy them. If the government does so much work for women empowerment, then they should also provide free pads so that women can take care of themselves properly.
Q. Do you think community members are interested in discussing menstrual hygiene? Are women and especially adolescent girls interested in understanding menstrual hygiene from you?
ANM: See, there are no separate programmes for this, only during vaccination or during Mangal Diwal or Nutrition Week, women are given advice on menstruation. Now women and teenage girls are more aware about menstrual hygiene than before. If there is a problem, they also talk to us. But still they don't buy pads at medical dispensaries as they feel ashamed.
Q. Have you received any training on menstrual health?
ANM: No such training has been given.
Q. Are you aware of whether your Gram Panchayat prioritises menstrual health services during its planning? What kind of services or schemes are accounted for under menstrual health?
ANM: There is no discussion about menstrual health in Panchayat meetings. Not even women members raise the topic; talking about this issue in front of everyone is a challenging task. Even when it comes to basic amenities like toilets, because of water problems the constructed toilets are not functional. In such a situation, women are not able to use toilets despite having one.
This interview was conducted with an Auxiliary Nurse-Midwife in Bihar in Hindi on 27 March 2023, and has been translated.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Ciaramidaro