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May 30 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


On World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2024, India celebrates advancements in menstrual hygiene management, with around 80% of young women aged 15-24 using safe menstrual products, as reported by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 2019-2020). 

Despite overall progress, the menstrual hygiene needs of women in Indian prisons remain largely overlooked, highlighting a critical area for improvement. 

Status of Menstrual Hygiene in Prisons: 

Population and Access: 

  • As per the data from the National Crime Records Bureau, there are 23,772 women incarcerated in Indian prisons, with a notable proportion falling within the reproductive age bracket. 
  • Access to sanitary napkins in prisons is inconsistent, and the quality of available products varies. 
  • Prisons typically issue ‘one size fits all’ sanitary pads, disregarding the diverse needs of different women. 
  • Alternative menstrual products like tampons or menstrual cups are rarely provided. 

Facility and Infrastructure: 

  • Many prisons lack adequate water and washroom facilities, despite recommendations in the 2016 Model Prison Manual. 
  • Proper disposal of menstrual hygiene materials is often neglected, posing health risks for women and affecting overall facility hygiene. 
  • Overcrowding and poor socio-economic conditions exacerbate challenges related to water, detergent, and soap availability. 

Challenges in Addressing Menstrual Hygiene in Prisons: 

Stigma and Silence: 

  • Menstruation is a taboo subject, particularly in the confined environment of prisons, making it difficult for women to openly discuss their needs. 
  • The reluctance to address menstrual hygiene further perpetuates the neglect of women’s basic rights. 

Lack of Legal Framework: 

  • There is no law mandating the provision of free sanitary products in prisons or ensuring access to hot water for menstrual management. 
  • Existing schemes and policies do not specifically cater to the menstrual hygiene needs of women in prison settings. 

Data Deficiency and Awareness: 

  • Limited data on water availability in prisons hampers efforts to address hygiene needs effectively. 
  • Prison authorities may lack awareness of the specific menstrual hygiene needs of women or the importance of addressing them. 

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM): 

  • MHM encompasses the use of clean menstrual materials, access to washing facilities, and proper disposal methods. 
  • It is crucial for the dignity, health, and education of menstruating individuals, particularly in developing countries where access to sanitation facilities may be limited. 

Government Initiatives Related to Menstrual Hygiene: 

National Menstrual Hygiene Policy: 

  • Introduced in 2023, this policy aims to ensure safe and dignified menstrual hygiene management for all, including women in prisons. 
  • However, concrete action plans for improving menstrual hygiene in prisons are lacking. 

Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS): 

  • Launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the MHS promotes menstrual hygiene among rural adolescent girls. 
  • While it does not specifically target women in prisons, it signifies broader efforts to address menstrual hygiene across demographics. 

Other Initiatives: 

  • Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) offers affordable sanitary napkins. 
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) and Samagra Shiksha include menstrual health awareness programs. 
  • The Zero-Napkin Mission in Kerala aims to replace synthetic napkins with menstrual cups, promoting sustainability and health. 

Way Forward: 

Period Pantry: 

  • Establish designated locations within prisons for discreet distribution of menstrual supplies, such as vending machines or dedicated staff. 
  • Ensure availability of a variety of menstrual products to cater to diverse needs. 

Hygiene Education and Peer Support: 

  • rovide training for women in prison to serve as peer educators, imparting knowledge on best practices for menstrual hygiene. 
  • Organize workshops for prison staff to raise awareness and dispel misconceptions surrounding menstrual hygiene. 

Infrastructure Upgrades: 

  • Implement uniform national regulations mandating the provision of free, high-quality sanitary pads in prisons. 
  • Allocate budgets for necessary repairs and upgrades to ensure clean and functional washroom facilities. 

Sustainability and Monitoring: 

  • Establish monitoring systems to assess implementation and track product availability. 
  • Promote menstrual hygiene as a basic right and integrate it into prison reform initiatives for sustained focus on women’s well-being. 

Mains question: 

  1. “Discuss the challenges related to menstrual hygiene management in Indian prisons, highlighting the need for comprehensive reforms and sustainable solutions.” (150 WORDS)


May 30
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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