The Netherlands embassy is providing around Tk29.36 crore for increasing awareness of menstruation and women health development in Bangladesh.
The three-year-long awareness project began in January 2016 in 400 villages of eight Upazilas in the Netrokona district. The Upazilas are- Atpara, Madan, Netrakona Sadar, Kamlakanda, Purbo Dhala, Kendua, Mohanganj and Khaliajhuri in Netrakona district.
Mahbuba Kumkum, Project Manager of the project said that the project has started the journey to make menstrual awareness of health management for women.
The objective of this campaign is to make people aware of the school children, their parents, teachers and locals, under the slogan ‘Ritu is Normal and Natural’, she added.
Ritu is a Bangla word meaning menstrual period of women.
Kumkum said “We are currently working in eight Upazilas, 52 Unions and two Municipalities and near about 400 villages in Netokona districts. We have two partners in field level who are implementing the project in the village level.”
Roksana Kader, Additional Secretary of the Local Government Division, said organized efforts at public and private levels were essential for creating awareness about monthly health management.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, inaugurated as the chief guest an awareness programme on July 16, 2017 of the campaign for increasing the school-based awareness on girls menstrual health management.
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherland, Leoni Margaretha Cuelenaere; Director General of Secondary and Higher Education Professor Dr. S M Wahiduzzaman and Director General of Health Professor Dr. Abul Kalam Azad were present as the special guests.
In a 2014 survey, around 40 per cent female respondents said they skipped school during menstruation.
The Bangladesh National Hygiene Baseline Survey 2014 noted that menstrual hygiene management remained a challenge, especially in schools, since the knowledge on it was poor.
Only 36per cent knew about menstruation before menarche. Almost one third of the female students thought that menstrual problems interfered with their school performance, the survey found.
Ritu is a project, initiated in 2016, Funded by The Embassy of The Kingdom of The Netherlands. Simavi and Red Orange Media and Communications are the strategic partners of the project and BNPS, Development Organization of the Rural Poor, are the implementation partners of the project. TNO a Netherlands based research organization is working in this project to produce the Biodegradable sanitary pads.