To mark International Women's Day, the Union government on Thursday announced the launch of Suvidha, the 100-percent oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkin, under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP), in Delhi.
The sanitary napkin will be available for Rs. 2.50 per pad at over 3,200 Janaushadhi Kendras across India and would ensure ‘Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidha’ for the underprivileged women of India. This step taken by the Department of Pharmaceuticals will ensure the achievement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of affordable and quality healthcare for all, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar said, while addressing the media.
The minister further said that the product would ensure affordability, hygiene as well as ease of use and disposal for them. Suvidha napkins would be available at all Janaushadhi Kendras in the country by May 28, 2018 – World Menstrual Hygiene Day, the minister informed.
According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 percent of women aged between 15 and 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons. Further, about 78 percent women in urban areas use unhygienic methods of protection during menstruation and only 48 percent women in rural areas have access to clean sanitary napkins.
Such unhygienic aids cause fungal infections, reproductive tract infection, urinary tract infection, cervical cancer and also make women vulnerable to infertility. Moreover, the disposal of non-biodegradable sanitary napkins available today creates a huge environmental problem. The 100 percent biodegradable Suvidha napkin would ensure Swachhta, the Minister added.
Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Road Transport & Highways, Shipping Mansukh Lal Mandaviya explained the term ‘oxo-biodegradable’: a special additive is added in the Suvidha napkin, which makes it biodegradable when it reacts with oxygen after it is used and discarded. Further, Mandaviya said that the average price of sanitary napkins available in the market today is around Rs 8 per pad, whereas now with the launch of the Suvidha napkins at Rs. 2.50 per pad, this will go a long way in making the basic hygiene requirement aid for women affordable for everyone.
Speaking about the supply chain management under the PMBJP scheme, Mandaviya said that the ministry has been continuously fine-tuning the supply chain and monitoring it through an online tracking software to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential medicines at the PMBJP kendras across the country. The private sector is studying the supply chain management of the PMBJP scheme, the minister added.