Usage of rags and pieces of cloth as pad by women dates back to ancient times. There are still some places in India mainly rural areas where rags are still used. The Union Health Ministry launched 150-crore scheme last month to promote menstrual health among rural adolescent girls.
Approved by the National Rural Health Mission, the scheme’s first phase will cover 150 districts, targeting 15 million girls between 10 and 19 years of age. “Women in most villages use dirty cloths during their menstrual cycle. Sometimes the same cloth is shared by more than one woman,” said Sudha Tewari of Parivar Seva Sanstha, a nonprofit in Delhi that has studied menstrual hygiene in villages. “In Rajasthan, some women use sand bags. Such unhygienic methods cause diseases, including reproductive tract infection,” she added.
The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 report shows that the use of Sanitary Napkins among Indian women is 48.5% in rural, 77.5% in urban and 57.6% total. As per existing published research across India, the usage of Sanitary Napkins among rural Indian women ranges between 35% to 57%.