Menstrual hygiene management firmly on the agenda of regional workshops

A woman health volunteer is showing the group the sanitary napkins that she sells. BRAC programme Bangladesh. Photo: Christine Sijbesma/IRC

The third bi-annual Asia Sanitation and Hygiene Practitioners’ workshop, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 31 January to 2 February 2012, reported notable progress in implementing menstrual hygiene into WASH programmes.

In 2008, menstrual hygiene management was signalled as a neglected area in WASH programmes. In 2010 the workshop participants pushed ahead and discussed necessary provisions for menstrual hygiene management in toilet design (washing facilities, sufficient space, incinerators) as well as issues of availability and affordability of menstrual hygiene materials.

A major hurdle remains the lack of awareness and lack of recognition that menstrual hygiene is a human right and health issue. In 2012, participants  concluded that menstrual hygiene programmes are now usually linked to school WASH, but efforts are needed to reach girls who are not in schools. Advocacy and hygiene promotion have to improve the awareness of both men and women about menstruation and menstrual hygiene management.

Progress on menstrual hygiene management since 2008

WaterAid is developing a resource guide on menstrual hygiene management. BRAC has integrated Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in their WASH programme, especially in schools.

Menstrual hygiene has been taken up by IRSP in Pakistan as part of their post-emergency response and conducts hygiene sessions for men and for women on menstrual hygiene management. Wickramasinghe (2012) provides a checklist of necessary inputs, which could form the basis for programming in post-emergency situations.

Next steps

The following menstrual hygiene management (MHM) needs have identified:

  • understanding indigenous MHM practices
  • capacity building and promotion/awareness raising materials
  • inclusion of MHM in monitoring frameworks and national educational curricula
  • approaches for targeting girls who are not in school
  • innovation in low cost sanitary napkins

Some more resources:

Read the full version of this article on the IRC web site at: www.irc.nl/page/72510

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One response to “Menstrual hygiene management firmly on the agenda of regional workshops

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