Orientation seminar on menstrual cups for women police officers

Udaipur, 9th April, 2023

Action Research and Training for Health (ARTH) and Udaipur Police jointly organised an orientation seminar with the objective of providing women police officers with information on the menstrual cup, to explore their interest in an alternate option for menstrual hygiene management (programme schedule overleaf).

Participants included 107 women police officers along with ARTH’s staff who were directly involved in implementation of the menstrual cup programme on the ground (Ms Pushpa Sen, Training Lead; Ms Pramila Sharma, Communication Lead; Ms Gunjan Khorgade, Research Associate). Resource persons included Ms Chetna Bhati (Deputy Superintendent of Police, Udaipur), Dr Vinaya Pendse (Former Head, Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology, RNT Medical College and Pannadhay Zanana Hospital, Udaipur) and Dr Kirti Iyengar (Co-founder of ARTH and Director, SRH, CIFF). The seminar was moderated by Ms Snehal Sinha (Programme Associate).

The seminar included presentations, demonstrations and informal conversations related to the cup, its use and maintenance were disseminated. Participants’ queries were clarified by resource persons and ARTH staff. Ms Meera Gameti (Community Mobiliser) conducted a session using physical models where she described in detail how a woman could use the cup. She conducted the session in an informal manner so that the audience could openly ask questions. Resource persons discussed health aspects of cup use – the non-reactive materials used to make it, how it should be used, cleaned, changed, etc. Along with information on use, a few ARTH Community Health Entrepreneurs (better known as Taruni Sakhis) spoke about their personal experience of using and distributing menstrual cups in the community. Research by ARTH was also presented in brief by Ms Khorgade, which revealed that over 80% of those who had purchased the cup were using it regularly. She also presented specific questions and comments rural and tribal women had after using the cup. A Q&A session was also conducted in which many police officers asked a range of questions, some of which are summarised below.

Questions from women police officers

  1. Can using the cup lead to rashes/infections?
  2. How can one decide suitable cup size?
  3. Can unmarried women/girls use the cup?
  4. Can a woman who has had multiple C-sections use a cup?
  5. What if the flow is high and the cup fills up completely?
  6. What if the stem at the end of the cup sticks out of the body?
  7. What to do if they go to the bathroom and blood leaks and ruins their uniform?
  8. How to find out if cup has filled up?
  9. What if cup gets stuck inside? How to deal with fear of inserting cup?
  10. Does using cup lead to problems in pregnancy?
  11. How to clean the cup?
  12. How long can it be used in one go and for how many years can a cup be used?

Most questions were answered by Ms Pramila Sharma, with Dr Iyengar and Dr Pendse answering specific questions in relation to reproductive health. Ms Chetna Bhati also addressed the police officers and encouraged them to use the cup. If they feared using it, they could for the first few months use both a cup and pad, until they were completely confident about solely using the cup. Towards the end of the seminar some officers showed interest in using the cup. Therefore, ARTH will work out an arrangement to help supply them with menstrual cups.