The use of sanitary napkins is a basic necessity, yet due to cost, it is not always affordable for use in all sections of society. Thus, the price of sanitary napkins has been a barrier to reaching most women such as its use is low in Bangladesh; especially in rural areas.
Per piece cotton pads price is 8 tk. Almost 65% of women cannot afford the product because of its price. Instead of sanitary napkins, they use fabric. They reuse the same fabric by washing it over and over. Sometimes this fabric maybe not be properly hygienic for use. To address this issue, there is a need to develop an indigenous low-cost sanitary napkin from annually renewable natural resources.
Farhana Sultana, an assistant scientist at icddr,b. She has won the grand prize for her innovation. She proposed and developed a machine to produce jute cellulose-based disposable sanitary pads for sustainable menstrual health for women all over the world, at the 4th Annual Innovations Pitch Competition on ‘A Healthier Global Community Addressing the Twin Challenges of Pandemic Preparedness and Impact of Climate Change.’
It is an alternative solution for menstrual health and hygiene for women and girls in Bangladesh.
There is no machine available in Bangladesh to manufacture this kind of napkins by using jute cellulose. In collaboration with Dr. Mubarak Ahmed Khan, scientific advisor at Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, Sultana manually developed and piloted the jute cellulose-based disposable sanitary napkin.
With the money won from the award, Sultana will conduct an industrial trial for mass production, develop a business plan, and explore options for further scale-up and waste management.
The industrial trial will also assess the compatibility, compressibility, and stretchability of the napkins, and conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis with other commercially available disposable sanitary napkins; we know sanitary napkins are safe to use, however, there are a few ongoing studies that have reported the incidence of genital cancer with the use of sanitary napkins that use absorptive agents like dioxin and super-absorbent polymers because the not sure of the dioxin (present in sanitary napkins) can get accumulated in the body, and impact our reproductive organs, which can cause cervical cancer or ovarian cancer.
Jute cellulose is a new material and currently, there is no machine available in the country to manufacture such pads which is a barrier to scalability. Jute is one of the cheapest natural fibers. Jute fibers are composed primarily of cellulose (a major component of plant fiber) and lignin n (the major component of wood fiber).
It is thus a lignocellulosic fiber that is partially a textile fiber and partially wood. It falls into the bast fiber category (fiber collected from bast or skin of the plant) along with kenaf, industrial hemp, flax (linen), ramie, etc. The industrial term for jute fiber is raw jute. The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1–4 meters (3–12 feet) long. Jute is the common name given to the fiber extracted from the stems of plants belonging to the genus Corchorus, the family Tiliaceae.
The present invents ca ost-effective sanitary napkins and more specifically to a sanitary jute-based core absorbent material. The present advancement is thus targeted at sanitary napkins which can be on one hand obtained from readily available renewable natural sources and on the economical to prothemce making it available to wider sections of the society.
The sanitary napkin of the present invention advantageously and selectively involves jute fiber and jute sticks as the low-cost absorbent core material without the incorporation of any synthetic super-absorbent polymer. The manufacturing processes of the core material are simple and chemical-free, have no adverse effects on the environment.
Advantageously, the simple process can be easily adopted even by the non-skilled/semi-skilled persons for manufacturing safe and cheaper sanitary napkins.
This is the biggest chance for the Bangladeshi textile industry to manufacture this new sustainable product on their own by using their manpower with machine development and supplying it worldwide at a reasonable price. This will help the woman to prevent various types of health problems.