It has been around 16 months since Green the Red campaign was launched to spread awareness about sustainable alternatives to disposable sanitary pads and tampons. The campaign which originated in Bangalore, has caught on in many different cities across India and has received extensive coverage in newspapers and local radio channels. This year we wanted to increase our outreach multi-fold and what better way to do that than to reach out to the doctors! Women respect the opinion of doctors. With this in mind, “The Greener Doctrine” was launched on 22nd April 2018, targeting 100 sessions for doctors by doctors in the one month as a run up to World Menstrual Hygiene Day – 28 May 2018.
Three gynecologists associated with Green the Red, Dr Meenakshi Bharath, Dr. Aruna Muridhar and Dr Manisha Jhanwar made it their mission to enlist doctors into the campaign. They contacted the Public Awareness Committee of the Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Society of India (FOGSI). Dr Archana Verma, the Chairperson of FOGSI-PAC and Dr. Jaideep Malholtra, President FOGSI, welcomed the idea of a pan-India campaign to promote newer modalities in menstrual hygiene management.
Dr Archana Verma suggested that the most efficient way to get the message across was to request each of the 253 FOGSI affiliated societies across the country to conduct a session during their monthly society meetings. The method proved to be efficient and effective. In just over 30 days, 100 sessions have been conducted in 42 cities covering more than 7000 participants. The cities where sessions have happened are : Mandya, Ahmedabad, Agra, Akluj, Alwar , Aurangabad , Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bharuch, Bhilai, Chennai, Cochin ,Dehradun, Delhi, Dhule , Ghaziabad, Gulbarga ,Indore, Ichalkaranji (near Kolhapur), Jammu, Jabalpur, Jodhpur, Kolkata , Kukatpally(Hyd), Mathura, Meerut, Nasik, Nagpur, Noida, Nagercoil, Ooty, Patna, Ralegaon, Ratlam, Solapur, Shillong, Salem, Surat ,Trichy, Ujjain, Udaipur, Varanasi, Vijaywada, Vizag, Vadodara and Yavatmal. Apart from doctors, these sessions were attended by General Medical Fraternity viz Nurses, Hospital staff, Nursing students and Medical students. There has been a wave of enthusiasm among the medical fraternity - doctors are spinning off whatsapp groups, reaching out to different communities, writing creative slogans in regional languages, making videos of their views, spreading the message through local radio channels, print media and social media and above all trying these options for themselves. Some of them have decided to stock reusable menstrual hygiene products in their hospitals and clinics to make these products more accessible to women. A group of doctors in Ratlam - MP, celebrated the Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28th of May by conducting a menstrual hygiene camp in a distant adivasi village called Bhakat. Commendable indeed considering these doctors have to juggle these sessions with their professional work.
This year promises to be a year of menstrual hygiene, with celebrities talking about it, FM radio channels composing songs on it, several organisations running drives to donate menstrual hygiene products to the under-privileged. While it is great that menstruation is finally being talked about openly, the importance of advocating reusable menstrual hygiene products cannot be stressed more. Both from the perspectives of our health and the future of our environment, reusable menstrual hygiene products must come into the main stream narrative of managing menstrual hygiene. We are hopeful that the "The Greener Doctrine" has ensured just that!