Mumbai, Feb 27 (): It is bad news for sanitary napkin manufacturers in India. Of the 355 million menstruating women in India, only 12 per cent use sanitary napkins. The figure is small compared to countries like China, where majority of women use sanitary napkins, the survey maintained. The study, carried out by global information and measurement company AC Nielsen, and reviewed and endorsed by NGO Plan India, throws light on the dismal state of feminine hygiene care in India.
The nationwide survey was conducted in October on a sample size of 1,033 rural women and 151 gynaecologists. On the issue of affordability of quality sanitary care, the survey found that 81 per cent rural women use unsterilised cloths since they are cheaper and 68 per cent said they cannot afford to buy sanitary napkins.
Adolescent girls in rural India are unable to attend up to 50 days of schooling in a year due to inadequate menstrual care, the report said.
Poor financial condition does not allow majority of the women to buy quality sanitary napkins, the survey said, adding of cloth users, 45 per cent reuse cloth and 70 per cent dry them in shade, increasing chances of infections.
The survey said, among the adolescent rural girls, 23 per cent (aged 12-18 years) discontinue studies due to inadequate sanitary facilities in schools.
East India emerged as the region where the state of feminine hygiene is significantly poorer. Among women who use cloth, over 70 per cent in East said they feel insecure during periods and wished they knew more on the subject.