Menstrual hygiene management in schools: midway progress update on the “MHM in Ten” 2014–2024 global agenda. Health Research Policy and Systems, January 2021.
Progress has been made in recent years to bring attention to the challenges faced by school-aged girls around managing menstruation in educational settings that lack adequate physical environments and social support in low- and middle-income countries.
To enable more synergistic and sustained progress on addressing menstruation-related needs while in school, an effort was undertaken in 2014 to map out a vision, priorities, and a ten-year agenda for transforming girls’ experiences, referred to as Menstrual Hygiene Management in Ten (MHM in Ten).
The overarching vision is that girls have the information, support, and enabling school environment for managing menstruation with dignity, safety and comfort by 2024. This requires improved research evidence and translation for impactful national level policies.
As 2019 marked the midway point, we assessed progress made on the five key priorities, and remaining work to be done, through global outreach to the growing network of academics, non-governmental organizations, advocates, social entrepreneurs, United Nations agencies, donors, and national governments.
This paper delineates the key insights to inform and support the growing MHM commitment globally to maximize progress to reach our vision by 2024. Corresponding to the five priorities, we found that (priority 1) the evidence base for MHM in schools has strengthened considerably, (priority 2) global guidelines for MHM in schools have yet to be created, and (priority 3) numerous evidence-based advocacy platforms have emerged to support MHM efforts.
We also identified (priority 4) a growing engagement, responsibility, and ownership of MHM in schools among governments globally, and that although MHM is beginning to be integrated into country-level education systems (priority 5), resources are lacking.
Overall, progress is being made against identified priorities. We provide recommendations for advancing the MHM in Ten agenda. This includes continued building of the evidence, and expanding the number of countries with national level policies and the requisite funding and capacity to truly transform schools for all students and teachers who menstruate.