Menstrual Hygiene Summit held at Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust



Menstrual Hygiene Summit held at Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust

In a significant step toward promoting menstrual hygiene, and breaking the silence surrounding periods, the 'School Menstrual Hygiene Management Summit' was a significant event. It was held on May 28 - 2023 at the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust.

Rural Development Institute-Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, Dehradun, in collaboration with Azim Premji Foundation and the Uttarakhand State Education Department, organized the summit. The summit brought together educators, policymakers, health professionals, and students from across the state to address the critical issue of menstrual hygiene in schools.

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The summit began with an opening address by Dr. Rajeev Bijalwan, Deputy Director RDI - HIHT who emphasized upon gender integration in menstrual hygiene management. One of the key highlights of the summit was the inauguration of “Pahle Kadam” a book developed by RDI on menstrual hygiene and management by the guests.

Dr Vijendra Chauhan, Vice Chancellor, SRHU, told everyone that there are more misconceptions and myths than the number of problems in the menstrual cycle. It will be possible to remove these misconceptions and myths only when we address adolescent girls and women through programs like School Menstrual Hygiene Program.

He also said that schoolteachers have a very important role in menstrual hygiene management. He reiterated that we all should continue this program by taking one school each in the rural areas and promote menstrual hygiene management amongst children and teachers in those schools.

Dr. Geeta Khanna, Chairman Uttarakhand Child Right Protection Commission praised the work done by NGOs on menstrual health and hygiene. She emphasized upon working with the government as only then we can take such programs to a larger level. She said that such programs should be done more in public, only then we can reduce the misconceptions and taboos in society.

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Dr. Jyoti Sharma, who delivered the Inaugural Address emphasized that when girls and women are supported in managing their periods safely and with dignity, they can contribute more effectively to their families, communities, and the nation. She addressed proper menstrual product usage, personal hygiene, and the importance of access to clean water and sanitation facilities. She also stressed upon the importance of sex education which should be incorporated in the school syllabus.

Mahavir Singh Bisht, Deputy Director of Secondary Education, explained in detail about the efforts being made by the government, and he believes that the collaboration of NGOs and other organizations with the government can make programs like school menstrual hygiene management programs very successful and effective.

Rural Development Institute - Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust Director, B. Maithali highlighted the need for breaking gender stereotypes and involving men and boys in conversations surrounding menstruation.

Dr. Bharti Dangwal, Senior State Program Manager, American Indian Foundation Uttarakhand emphasized on promotion of menstrual hygiene in rural areas through MHM programs while Deepa Kaushalam, Program Director, Astitva Foundation, delivered a compelling address on gender integration in menstrual health management.

From Swami Rama Himalayan University, Dr Neerul Pandita, Dr. Enas Mushtaq, Dr. Neha Sharma, Neelam Pandey, and Dr. Rajeev Bijalwan also shared their experiences and views on menstrual hygiene management.