Mumbai: Almost 68 percent rural women cannot afford sanitary napkins available in the market on Sunday, according to a survey.
The survey, carried out by leading global information and measurement company AC Nielsen, and reviewed and endorsed by NGO Plan India, reveals the dismal state of feminine hygiene care in India.
According to gynaecologists, the use of alternative sanitary care measures such as unsterilised cloths, sand and ash make women susceptible to infections and diseases.
The study found that awareness on the basic health and feminine hygiene is very low, with 75 percent rural women lacking adequate knowledge on menstrual hygiene and care.
On the issue of affordability of good quality sanitary care, it found 81 percent rural women use unsterilised cloths since they are cheaper and 68 per cent said they cannot afford to buy sanitary napkins available in the market.
Adolescent girls in rural India are unable to attend up to 50 days of schooling in a year due to inadequate menstrual care, it said.
The survey was conducted in October with the participation of 1,033 rural women in the menstrual age group and 151 gynaecologists from different parts of India.
Altogether 97 percent gynaecologists surveyed believe that sanitary napkins can act as a preventive measure against reproductive tract infection.
The survey said among the adolescent rural girls, 23 per cent (aged 12-18 years) discontinue studies due to inadequate sanitary facilities in schools.