Stayfree & UNICEF Reinforce Partnership in Educating girls on Menstrual Health and Hygiene

by Shrutee K/DNS
May 25, 2018: Johnson & Johnson’s leading sanitary napkin brand ‘Stayfree’ and UNICEF today reinforced their commitment to improve menstrual health and hygiene management among adolescent girls. The six-year old partnership, has focused on creating innovative communication tools to educate girls on menstrual hygiene.
“Paheli ki Saheli” is an effective tool for adolescent girls, mothers and teachers. It is not just a story based illustrated flipbook but also contains 5 short films of 5 minutes each, riddles, activity based games. In short an entertainment education package to explain what menstruation.
The partnership focused on understanding key barriers to menstrual hygiene management. It demonstrated how different social and behavior change interventions such as interpersonal communication, social mobilization and media-based activities among key stakeholders enhance knowledge, change attitudes, build skills and encourage positive behaviors at individual, family and community levels. is, why it happens and how to manage it hygienically.
The findings of the research conducted in the programmed area showed 93% girls missed at least one or two days of school on an average due to discomfort caused from periods. But access to sanitary napkins, information and knowledge on menstrual hygiene showed an immediate impact on school attendance as 97% approved of attending school during menstruation. The results have been spectacular amongst community members, adolescent girls, mothers, front line workers, and teachers.  In the districts where Paheli ki Saheli was implemented, a significant change in menstrual hygiene practices and therefore improvement in confidence amongst adolescent girls, was observed. 74% girls in Bihar and 76% girls in Jharkhand used pads and cloth, up from 50% Bihar and 46% Jharkhand in 2013. Adolescent girls adopted better disposal practices and they were empowered to speak openly and negotiate for better health and hygiene, while mothers and teachers also spoke freely about the issue. 
Estimates suggest that close to 110 million adolescent girls in India lack knowledge of menstrual hygiene and disposal practices, adversely affecting their education and health.  Indian Council for Medical Research 2011-12 report states that only 38 per cent menstruating girls in India spoke to their mothers about menstruation. A 2015 survey by the Ministry of Education found that in 63% schools in villages, teachers never discussed menstruation and how to deal with it in a hygienic manner. It is the endeavor of this partnership to spread the impactful communication toolkit “ Paheli Ki Saheli” with a larger audience whose lives can improve with meaningful menstrual education. Paheli ki Saheli is included in Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), the national health programme targeting adolescents ages 10-19. It is an open resource and is available in the public domain (www.unicefiec.org). and Stayfree India Youtube Channel.
Dimple Sidhar, Vice President, Marketing, Johnson & Johnson India, said “We at Stayfree believe that every girl deserves to have the opportunity to build a future that she wants. But without education, this is little more than just a dream. Research has shown that more girls drop out of school due to lack of knowledge on menstrual hygiene and sanitation facilities. We, at Stayfree have been continuously working towards bringing about a behavioral change with adolescent girls. And our partnership with UNICEF continues to address this reality, through educating young girls. “Paheli ki Saheli” is our effort in providing education and awareness to enable girls in India not to miss their school”.
Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, Representative UNICEF India shared “It is just not right that adolescent girls feel the need to miss school due to the pain or stain associated with menstruation. The partnership with Stayfree has created robust communication tools which have equipped girls and people in their ecosystem with necessary life skills on managing this issue”
About Johnson & Johnson India
Caring for the world, one person at a time, inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace innovation—bringing ideas, products and services to life to advance the health and well-being of people around the world. Johnson & Johnson spread its root into India 70 years ago. Since then, the Company has brought many innovative ideas, products and services to improve the health and well-being of people in India. The Company today employs more than 3,500 people and is organized into three business segments: Consumer Healthcare, Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals in India.
About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. Learn about the #EarlyMomentsMatter campaign.

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