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Background

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been implementing this scheme for promotion of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls in the age group of 10-19 years primarily in rural areas as part of the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram.

The scheme has the following objectives:

  • 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.

The scheme was initially implemented in 2011 in 107 selected districts in 17 States wherein a pack of six sanitary napkins called “Freedays” was provided to rural adolescent girls for Rs. 6. From 2014 onwards, funds are now being provided to States/UTs under National Health Mission for decentralized procurement of sanitary napkins packs for provision to rural adolescent girls at a subsidized rate of Rs 6 for a pack of 6 napkins. The ASHA will continue to be responsible for distribution, receiving an incentive @ Rs 1 per pack sold and a free pack of napkins every month for her own personal use. She will convene 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 SRH issues. A range of IEC material has been developed around MHS, using a 360 degree approach to create awareness among adolescent girls about safe & hygienic menstrual health practices which includes audio, video and reading materials for adolescent girls and job-aids for ASHAs and other field level functionaries for communicating with adolescent girls.