The flood is affecting most of the areas of Assam today. The majority of the food-hit people are sheltered in the government-run flood relief camps. But, the women and girls staying in these flood relief camps are facing a hard time because of the non-availability of sanitary napkins during their menstruation periods. They didn't get time to grab sanitary napkins when floodwaters were fast approaching to their residences. The government agencies and NGO are distributing food items, cloths and medicines in these relief camps. But, the inclusion of sanitary napkins in the list of relief materials is almost nil though one of the most urgent needs of the women and girls of these flood relief camps is sanitary napkins. Very few government agencies and NGOs are distributing sanitary napkins as a flood relief material. It is an issue that nobody discusses. Only a few can imagine the agony that the women and girls are suffering in these temporary relief camps. The lack of proper sanitary napkins can lead to various diseases (such as fungal infections, urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections, etc.), ill-health and even death due to unhygienic and unsanitary menstrual practices (use of unsanitary old cloth pieces, papers, dried leaves, grasses, etc.), all of which must be avoided. That's why the government agencies and NGOs should include sanitary napkins in the list of relief material for flood-hit women and girls. The Assam government should take immediate action in this regard and provides relief to the women and girls trapped in the floods.
Dr Dharmakanta Kumbhakar,
Tezpur Medical College.