COVID-19 Induced Menstrual Hygiene Management Adversities and Impact Assessment of Project Baala's Intervention in Response to These Adversities in Peri-Urban Fringes of Delhi
10 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 19, 2020
Background: Only 57.6% use hygienic methods for their menstrual needs in India (NFHS,4). There is an accompanying challenge of access to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities. 63 million adolescent girls live in homes without toilets, which compounds discomfort during menstruation (Dasra, 2014). Awareness levels related to menstruation, menstrual hygiene and age-old myths and taboos continue to be low in parts of the country. COVID-19 resulted in an apparent reduction/elimination of access to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) products and facilities, adoption of unhygienic menstrual management practices even by healthcare workers, decrease in access to menstrual-related knowledge, increase in the risk of occurrence and severity of several stress-related menstrual disorders, and a shift of public focus from menstrual health and wellbeing promotion (Ajari, 2020). This research aims to study add to the literature by studying the impact of COVID-19 on MHM and the impact of an intervention conducted by Project Baala to reduce MHM adversities owing to COVID-19.
Methods : We collated data of 368 women from the 20 clusters of Delhi to study their patterns and the impact of the intervention. We undertook a quantitative study to understand the patterns in the community. The sample of women and girls was based on convenience sampling. We surveyed women and girls over a phone call for which oral consent was taken before administering the survey.
Results: 31.8% of women reported restricted access to menstrual products and an overwhelming proportion 61.6% cited limited financial resources as the reason. During the lockdown, the access to school supply was disrupted for 80% of the girls. During the lockdown, 27.4% of the respondents had to use alternative methods for their menstrual needs such as old cloth lying at home due to the pandemic-induced scarcity. Results of our intervention suggest that of the 62.8% women who have used the Baala pads at least once, 96.5% of them reported that the reusable pads have increased their comfort level with regard to using menstrual products and about 86% women urged that this usage has facilitated mobility and improved participation in activities. Owing to these benefits, 94.8% respondents find the Baala pads to be reliable and 81% would continue using them after the pandemic, pointing out to the wide acceptance of sustainable menstrual hygiene products by all.
Keywords: Menstrual Hygiene Management, access, awareness, COVID-19, reusable pads
JEL Classification: I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation