आयुर्वेद Ayurveda

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11 Aug 2013

Menstrual health education reaches Beyond Horizon at Snehalaya- a BHHAS activity

Sarya Kalyana-  To Westerners, the phrase may look like a simple mishmash of letters. But to impoverished Indian girls it symbolizes a lifeline - a path to menstrual health and wellness advice. Sarya kalyana camps are one-day events where BHHAS doctors travel to schools and colleges to educate, consult and guide adolescent girls about their menstrual and overall health. Picture a crowd of girls crowded around doctors are learning how to lead healthy lives and maintain menstrual hygiene. Everyone is welcome. Everything is free. That is what Sarya Kalyana, or Menstrual Health and wellness program, is all about.
Though menstrual education programs are conducted in schools, the factual information that adolescent girls need is not always available to them leaving behind a large number of unanswered questions, ranged from sophisticated to poignantly ignorant, in the minds of young girls. According to the World Health Organization, girls from the poorest countries are the worst affected.
Sarya Kalyana- the menstrual health and hygiene program was conducted at Ahmendnagar with Snehalaya on 4 August 2013 educating more than 80 girls. Snehalaya is a place of vibrant activities, rehabilitating over 2100 commercial sex workers , providing medical treatment for over 6000 HIV +ve men and women every year and managing a 24x7 Childline.
Innovation: The Birth of the Mega Menstrual Wellness Camps
Launched in early 2011, the Menstrual health awareness camps were an instant success as it educated girls about physical and emotional changes in adolescence, when to visit doctor, dietary and lifestyle changes during menses, sanitary pads disposal.
Can we remove eggs (ovum) out of the body, why does baby grow in mother’s womb only, how do astronauts get menses in space, does growth in height ceases after menarche, do boys too develop pubic hair, does a girl become pregnant immediately after menarche, etc. were some of the interesting questions showing the curiosity and ignorance in the minds of young girls.During the one-day pilot programs alone, the numbers reached in Pune city schools were impressive: Karve School (1800 girls), Hilda’s School (780) and Hire’s school (330). As BHHAS International continues to expand the program, thousands more Indians girls are expected to get benefitted through the programs.

Karve School, Pune
Saint Hilda School, Pune

At the camps, girls are tested about their awareness and knowledge about menses, reproductive organs and functions, physical adolescent changes, menstrual care and hygiene. Girls then receive presentation from doctors about menstrual health and hygiene importance.

Sarya kalyana program at Snehalaya:
While each camp is unique, here are the key ingredients:
  1. Questionnaire assessment of girls about menses and menstrual health.
  2. Story of Paro- Narrated by Dr. Kaustubh Ghodke about an Indian girl and her experiences about menarche and various questions surrounding the topic.
  3. Presentation and talk show with girls educating girls on the subject.
  4. Open ended questions raising time, where girls can ask questions bubbling in their minds on and around the topic without revealing the identity by ‘secret envelope method’
  5. Panel discussion with team of expert doctors from BHAAS, where taboos and mtyhs are cleared from the young minds of girls.
  6. BHHAS doctors team includes Dr. Atul Rakshe (Our patron), Dr. Kaustubh Ghodke, Dr. Vikas Chothe, Dr. Supriya Shah, Dr. Poonam Patil, Dr. Sarita, Dr. Mazar, Dr. Sagar Thokade, Dr. Ruturaj Kadam Patil and others.
  7. A booklet- Sarya Kalyana on menstrual health and hygiene program is distributed.
  8. Logistics, including tent, transportation of equipment and staff, meals, etc.
    Sarya Kalyana- menstrual health education booklet by Dr. Vikas Chothe
Dr. Vikas Chothe felicitated by Dr. Allison of SOPHE, San FRancisco, USA
The organization is best known as a spearheading partner of the Menstrual health and wellbeing Initiative in India; with its program being selected as one of the best by Society for Public Health Education, USA.  The good news is that from more than 250 research papers, this program was selected amongst best three and Dr. Vikas Chothe, MD founder of this menstrual movement was invited to present it at 63 rd annual conference at San Francisco, USA. Dr Supriya Shah feels that there is need for regular menstrual health education program like ours, thereby shaping good menstrual attitudes and preventing morbidity.BHHAS team has been championing the eradication of ignorance among girls about menstrual health and we believe such programs will help eradicate menstrual myth and taboos in India by creating enlightened mothers of tomorrow.

Support our humanitarian initiative to promote menstrual health and well being of girls worldwide by your generous donation. If you wish to participate and contribute to the cause turn around and call 9922916025 or mail us at vchothe@gmail.com.

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