In India, women and girls make-up 70% of all our health care patients. We pay particular attention to their health and personal hygiene by targeting rural women through our Safe Pregnancy, and our Menstrual Health and Hygiene Programs.
In Bihar, infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in India. Hundreds of women benefit from our Safe Pregnancy Program in the Gaya district. Our programs raise awareness about pre-natal and neonatal health in our partner villages, where 60% of pregnant women are followed by village coordinators.
As a result, a two thirds of women now chose institutional childbirths over traditional childbirths, thus greatly reducing maternal and infant mortality.
Menstrual hygiene is one of the most important, yet neglected, health issues in the developing world. In India, approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases are caused by poor menstrual hygiene. Yet, only 12% of Indian women use sanitary pads. It is a taboo subject, surrounded by silence and shame, that also restricts women’s access to normal activities and services.
In June 2013, we launched our Menstrual Health and Hygiene Program. Through this project, we distribute subsidized sanitary pads to rural women and girls and raise awareness about the importance good menstrual practices.