Farhana Sultana, Assistant Scientist at International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) has won the grand prize for her proposed innovation- developing a machine to produce jute cellulose-based sanitary pads for sustainable menstrual health, at the 4th Annual Innovations Pitch Competition on “A Healthier Global Community Addressing the Twin Challenges of Pandemic Preparedness and Impact of Climate Change.” The Competition was organised by the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). In recognition, ASTMH has awarded Sultana USD $5,000.
In collaboration with Dr Mubarak Ahmed Khan, scientific advisor at Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, Sultana manually developed and piloted the jute cellulose-based disposable pad which is an alternative solution for menstrual health and hygiene for women and girls in Bangladesh. Currently, there is no machine available in Bangladesh to manufacture such pads, which is a barrier to scalability. 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 pad, and conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis with other commercially available disposable sanitary pads, the post revealed.
The 4th Annual Innovations Pitch Competition focused on bright ideas to reduce risk, improve prediction and deliver better healthcare tools for outbreak-prone diseases in low-resource settings. Next year’s competition will highlighted tools and methods that will improve two of the most consequential threats to a healthy and sustainable world: resilience in the face of a pandemic and reducing the deleterious impact of climate change.