Menstrual Hygiene Scheme
Polity & Governance
17th Jan, 2019
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) gave minutes of Menstrual Hygiene Scheme (MHS) in the Parliament.
What is Menstrual Hygiene Scheme?
- Implemented by MoHFW since 2011, it aims to address the need of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls residing primarily in rural areas.
- A range of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material has been developed around MHS, using a 360 degree approach to create awareness among adolescent girls about safe & hygienic menstrual health practices. Awareness includes audio, video and reading materials for adolescent girls.
- Under this scheme, funds are provided to States/UTs through National Health Mission for decentralized procurement of sanitary napkins packs for provision primarily to rural adolescent girls at a subsidized rate of Rs 6 for a pack of 6 napkins.
- These napkins are procured at subsidized rates as per proposals received from the States and UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans.
- The ASHA is responsible for distribution, receiving an incentive @ Rs 1 per pack sold and a free pack of napkins every month for her own personal use.
- ASHA convenes monthly meetings at the Aanganwadi Centres or other such platforms for adolescent girls to focus on issue of menstrual hygiene and also serve as a platform to discuss other relevant sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues.
- Job-aids for ASHAs and other field level functionaries for communicating with adolescent girls.
What are the main objectives of this scheme?
- To increase awareness on menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls
- To increase access to and use of good quality sanitary napkins among adolescent girls residing primarily in rural areas
- To ensure safe disposal of sanitary napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.
Who is ASHA?
- A trained female community health activist ASHA or Accredited Social Health Activist is an important component of National Rural Health Mission.
- Selected from the village itself and accountable to it, the ASHA is trained to work as an interface between the community and the public health system.
- Following are the key components of ASHA :
- ASHA must primarily be a woman resident of the village married/ widowed/ divorced, preferably in the age group of 25 to 45 years.
- She should be a literate woman with due preference in selection to those who are qualified up to 10 standard wherever they are interested and available in good numbers. This may be relaxed only if no suitable person with this qualification is available.
- ASHA will be chosen through a rigorous process of selection involving various community groups, self-help groups, Anganwadi Institutions, the Block Nodal officer, District Nodal officer, the village Health Committee and the Gram Sabha.
- She is the first port of call for any health related demands of deprived sections of the population, especially women and children, who find it difficult to access health services.
- She will be the health activist in the community who will create awareness on health and its social determinants and mobilise the community towards local health planning and increased utilisation and accountability of the existing health services.