Jute-Based Sanitary Pad: Bangladeshi scientist wins global award
Farhana Sultana, assistant scientist at International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), has won the grand prize at a global competition, for her proposed innovation -- developing a machine to produce jute cellulose-based sanitary pads.
The fourth Annual Innovations Pitch Competition on "A Healthier Global Community Addressing the Twin Challenges of Pandemic Preparedness and Impact of Climate Change" was organised by the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).
As recognition, ASTMH has awarded USD 5,000 to Farhana, according to an icddr,b post on its official Facebook page.
She is also set to be a judge at the fifth Annual
Innovations Pitch Competition, scheduled to be held in 2022, read the post.
In collaboration with Dr Mubarak Ahmed Khan, scientific adviser at Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, Farhana manually developed and piloted the jute cellulose-based disposable pad, which is potentially a better alternative product to maintain menstrual health and hygiene for women and girls in Bangladesh, the post added.
Jute cellulose is a biodegradable material. Currently, there is no machine available in the country to manufacture such pads, which is a barrier to scalability.
With the money won from the award, Farhana will conduct an industrial trial for mass production, develop a business plan, and explore options for further scale-up and waste management, according to icddr,b.
"We will make a prototype of the machine with the award money, which will have a capacity to produce around 1,000 pads every day. We already have talked to a private company for this," Farhana Sultana told The Daily Star yesterday.
The industrial trial will also assess the compatibility, compressibility and stretchability of the pad, and conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis with other commercially available disposable sanitary pads, the post revealed.
She said the objective of the innovation project was to make a biodegradable and low-cost menstrual product from locally produced ingredients.
"Currently, we have a dependency on imported materials to produce menstrual pads. We are also conducting trials of hand-made pads. If we become successful, it would be very good progress," she added.