The scheme is aimed at ensuring that adolescent girls in rural areas have adequate knowledge about menstrual hygiene and use of sanitary napkins. The girls will be provided a pack of six sanitary napkins under the National Rural Health Mission`s brand `Freedays`. It will be sold at a price of Rs 6 per pack by the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers. The scheme would be operational from July.
In Bihar, this scheme will be launched in 10 districts, namely Rohtas, Kaimur, Aurangabad, Bhojpur, Vaishali, Siwan, Gaya, Buxar, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga. It will benefit about 27.87 lakh adolescent girls.
To ensure that the scheme`s benefit actually reaches the beneficiaries, ASHA workers will be given an incentive of Re 1 on sale of each pack and a free pack of sanitary napkins per month. “They will also undertake field study,” Dr M P Sharma, state project officer, Bihar State Health Society told TOI, adding “easy access and convenient pricing are the strategies adopted by the ministry for increasing usage of safe and hygiene practices”.
These napkins will be procured by the Union government and sent to respective districts, from where primary health centres will procure them for distribution to health sub-centres. These will be then sent to local ANMs and distributed through ASHA workers.
In the first phase, the scheme will cover 25% of the population — about 1.5 crore girls in the age group of 10 to 19 years — in 152 districts of 20 states. The government is launching this scheme as part of the Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health under Reproductive Child Health Programme II.