The Man Who Wore a Fake Uterus and Reinvented Sanitary Pads in India [VIDEO]
Mar 05, 2014 12:18
Arunachalam Muruganantham created and wore a fake bleeding uterus made out of a bladder and goat's blood. He didn't do it for fun. He wanted to find a cheaper way to make sanitary pads. His story is weird and inspiring at the same time.
Muruganantham first bought sanitary pads in 1998 and discovered how expensive they were. Most poor Indian women had been using dirty and unsanitary rags instead of pads. Cotton wasn't expensive, so why were sanitary pads priced so high? That got him to think.
But when he did make one, he couldn't test it out. His wife was only one person, but his sisters refused him and even the medical students he convinced to try were not taking his survey seriously. He decided to test it on himself instead.
"I became the man who wore a sanitary pad," he says.
He created a "uterus" from a football bladder by punching a couple of holes in it, and filling it with goat's blood. A former classmate, a butcher, would ring his bicycle bell outside the house whenever he was going to kill a goat. Muruganantham would collect the blood and mix in an additive he got from another friend at a blood bank to prevent it clotting too quickly—but it didn't stop the smell.
He walked, cycled and ran with the football bladder under his traditional clothes, constantly pumping blood out to test his sanitary pad's absorption rates. Everyone thought he'd gone mad.
The breakthrough came when he figured out what sanitary pads were made out of. He posed as a textile mill owner looking to get into the business and asked for samples. He got blocks of the plant fiber cellulose.
His machine turns blocks of cellulose into useable sanitary pads. "The process involves four simple steps," according to the BBC. "First, a machine similar to a kitchen grinder breaks down the hard cellulose into fluffy material, which is packed into rectangular cakes with another machine. The cakes are then wrapped in non-woven cloth and disinfected in an ultraviolet treatment unit. The whole process can be learned in an hour."
Muruganantham took his invention to India's poorest states and women were taught to make and even sell them. He has since changed a lot of things in taboo areas, and possibly saved a lot of people from hygiene related issues. All this from a fake uterus. [BBC]
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