Menstruation is time period in which the body sheds the unfertilized ova along with the sloughing off of the uterine walls. The meaning seems simple, yet it is killing many girls in the western part of our country. The lack of awareness regarding the care indeed during the menstrual period possesses all the dangers. It will be quite biasing if we only blame menstruation for all the killings, our cruel culture adds extra touch to it. Similarly, the strong belief towards the culture regarding menstrual period as the duration of the impurity always adds up the hazard. The people blindfold themselves; lose all their cognitive abilities when they need to take decision against the cruel culture which exaggerates the simple yet frightening time of five days every girl in her reproductive ages. You might be a little bit confused by the term cruel culture which I’m talking about, may be some of you have already guessed it. It is non-other than the ‘Chaupadi pratha’ that’s still prevalent in Western part of our country.
People due to misbelieve that menstruation is a symbol of impurity, let their innocent daughters to live in exile from their own family members for a couple of weeks. The Chaupadi tradition has been a reason for the high mortality amongst the females of reproductive age in Western Nepal. During the first menstrual period, the female is sent in exile away from home. She is not allowed to meet her family members. She is restricted from touching any of the plants nearby. She is also not allowed to read the books as well. As humiliating it seems, it also crosses all the boundary of cruelty. During the cold weather she is not provided with abundant clothes, as such she lights up the wood for the warmth. The desire for warmth could possibly be the cause of her death by asphyxiation in the congested small hut or let’s say- her temporary home. These difficult days in her life are not only limited to the first menstrual period, but also continues throughout her reproductive life. These biological phenomena will now be proven as a punishment to those innocent girls. The extra care they need during that time is not available to them; rather they are subjected to dreadful condition which pushes them towards the mouth of death.
Most of the people lack general knowledge regarding the sanitation and the requirement of the hygiene during the menstrual period. It seems to be a crucial reason for the death of the females as a result of unhygienic behaviors during menstrual period. Also, due to poor economic conditions people are bound to use unsanitary methods during this period. Abandonment during the menstrual period adds up the extra risks. Most of the girls are unable to buy required number of sanitary pads. Low financial status as well illiteracy has worsened the case. Since menstruation considered as a taboo in Nepali community, girls feel shy to discuss the matter openly. They even do not take the effort to buy sanitary pads openly due to the thinking prevalent in their community. Due to this, they do not pay attention to sanitary practices. The consequences of these activities add in building up the harmful microbial during the menstruation. If left untreated, it eventually leads to death.
Thus, it seems quite obvious that the superstitious tradition when mixed with ignorance causes mortality. Everyone should be clear about requirement of hygiene during menstruation. School should provide free sanitary pads to the girls in collaboration with several NGOs, INGOs and the Government of Nepal. Reproductive education related subjects must be mandatory to all schooling children. The adult community also should be made aware through various campaigns, programs or informal education. Hence, effort from everyone is a must so that no single girl faces the brutal consequences of menstruation.