An Indian woman spends about Rs 300 per month in buying sanitary pads

Amol Prakash Mane talks about how menstrual cup is different and adds to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Make in India campaign.

With a vision towards empowering today’s women with basic menstrual hygiene, DEA Corp recently launched its premium menstrual cups.

The brand, in its latest offering, intends to advocate reusable menstrual hygiene practices in the country.

In conversation with this correspondent, Amol Prakash Mane, Founder, DEA Corp talks about why is it apt for athletes, fitness enthusiasts to young school and college going girls, how is it different and how the brand adds to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Make in India campaign.

Tell us a bit about the menstrual cups, what is so different about them?

A suitable alternative to sanitary product, the purpose of a menstrual cup is to collect the menstrual fluid and prevent the blood from leaking into clothes.

The advantages of using a menstrual cup is no risks of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome which one is likely to get for using the same tampon or pad for a long period of time. DEA Cup is a reusable menstrual cup made out of 100 per cent medical grade silicone.

The cup, shaped like a bell, is inserted inside the vagina during periods and sits quite low in the vagina. It does not disturb any bodily functions. It is different from the other sanitary products because it collects the blood rather than absorbing the blood.

It is different in the way of its insertion and its utilisation purpose. Its durability is one of its most important aspects as one cup can be reused for 10 years.

The cup adjusts as per the body shape and is perfect for use up to 12 hours in a day. This allows people to be able to be far more active in physical activities like swimming, cycling, running etc.

What led you to the idea for them?

The thought process behind DEA menstrual cup is to empower women by giving them an alternative product that can last as long as 10 years, thereby assisting them in saving money as well as to have a stress free and active life during periods. It also strives to make women active participants towards contributing to environment. Cost efficient and with no risk of infection unlike pads and other products, DEA cups can be used for longer hours. The name “DEA” is inspired by my daughter’s name and through DEA Corp we are working on an awareness drive to break the taboo and the shackles of silence prevailing in the Indian society on menstruation.

How does the brand intend to contribute to the initiative of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Make in India campaign through the product?

We intend to contribute to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan through providing an alternative menstrual hygiene product, that is the menstrual cup. Disposal of sanitary pad is a huge problem in India. Lack of proper knowledge in disposal of used pads and unavailability of proper disposal methods are serious issues. As per surveys, about 57.6 per cent of Indian women use disposable napkins. If a woman uses two pads per day during each period (approximately five days in a month), then the total number of pads used each year (by this group) would be 44.9 billion pads per year. This is the time to convince women to move to biodegradable products that will help tackle the problem of disposable products that contain plastic

With DEA Menstrual Cups, we wish to spread awareness among school and college going girls and women starting with Vapi in Gujarat. This way women can contribute towards environment and can be active participants of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan movement. The manufacturing of DEA Cup itself has minimal to no wastage. We follow the REUSE (the DEA Cup) and REDUCE (wastage created by disposable menstrual products) cycle thoroughly.

What are your views on menstrual hygiene?

In India, it is observed that many women suffer from vaginal infections due to poor menstrual practices. Poor hygiene adversely affects their health and there is an increased vulnerability to reproductive tract infections and other complications. It can also lead to urogenital infections (specifically Bacterial Vaginosis and UTI- Urinary Tract Infections). Menstrual hygiene education has always been our main agenda in all the sessions that we have done so far in Vapi. Students are inquisitive learners, they have questions and doubts which they feel free to discuss, so school is the foundation where the seeds of knowledge can be germinated. Menstrual hygiene is important to ensure proper health to prevent unnecessarily infections and risk to health.

In a country where rampant act of sexual abuse and discord is prevalent, should not something be targeted towards the lower strata? Should the product not be made accessible to a larger section of society?

Indeed the product should me made available to a larger section and that is where we are heading to. Knowledge about different options of menstrual product is the essential. A menstrual cup can be used up to 10 years. Therefore it is much more cost effective and a better alternative to sanitary pads. An Indian woman spends about Rs. 300 per month in buying pads or tampons. Assuming that the menstrual age lasts for 30 years, this number crosses a lakh of rupees. Now imagine having to spend less than 1/100th of the cost when you use a menstrual cup.

What does the brand do, on its part, to create more awareness on menstrual hygiene?

We strive to raise awareness on menstrual hygiene through demonstrations and door-to-door meetings. Our team performs demonstrations to groups of young girls and ladies in the schools across cities. Our aim is to reach out to the end consumers providing them with full knowledge and awareness on menstrual hygiene. We have an enthusiastic and dedicated team who shares the passion for women empowerment. It is a very significant issue and we address it with full concern trying to reach our to as many women as possible.

The Menstrual cup is available in two sizes, namely, the small (Model -1)and the large sizes (Model-2). Small cup has a 41 mm diameter and large cup has 45 mm diameter. Women under the age of 30 and not having any birthing experiences can opt for a small size while women over 30 or having given birth (normal or cesarean section) should opt for the large cup.

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