Tag Archives: menstrual hygiene management

Indian medical students use pads and poems to tackle period taboos

Indian medical students use pads and poems to tackle period taboos | Source: The Guardian, Oct 7 2016 |

Women on their way to becoming doctors write haikus about menstruation as one small step towards breaking the silence on the subject 

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Women wait for an underground train in Delhi. One study says that roughly 20% of girls aged 12-18 drop out of school in India due to menstruation-related issues. Photograph: EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

When Kavya Menon first brought up the idea of installing a sanitary pad dispenser in the girls’ bathroom of Calicut Medical College, fellow students said she shouldn’t really discuss such matters openly at a student union meeting, where boys were present. “It was strange. I mean, we’re supposed to become doctors yet some people would say, ‘How can you talk about this here?’”

For Menon, the sanitary pad dispenser was a necessity: “If you start your period in the middle of the day and you can’t find a pad, you have to go all the way to the hostel, which is at least a 10-minute walk away. There’s no time between classes to go there.”

Periods are only ever mentioned in hushed tones, Menon said. “You can’t raise your hand in class and tell your professor you need to leave because of period pain, for example. You have to be discreet.”

Read the complete article.

Live Q&A: Menstruation is keeping girls out of school – what can we do?

Live Q&A: Menstruation is keeping girls out of school – what can we do? Source: The Guardian, October 7 2016 |

Starting menstruation is a major factor in girls missing school in developing countries. Join an expert panel on Thursday 13 October, 2-3.30pm BST to discuss how to work across sectors to prevent this 

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Studies have shown that improved access to sanitary products increases school attendance among girls in Kenya. Photograph: George Mulala/Reuters

“I still remember the shocked silence the first time I brought up the issue of menstruation,” said Archana Patkar at Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council during a recent Guardian panel discussion.

She was describing working with colleagues in education looking at reasons for the dropout of girls from school at around ages 11-13. “[There were] a lot of discussions on teacher quality, classrooms, inadequacy of material, inappropriateness of curricular, but nobody was talking about what happens to girls at that point,” said Patkar.

Now there is recognition that starting their periods, and inadequate toilets and sanitation supplies, is a huge factor in girls missing out on their education. The United Nations Children’s Fund found that one in 10 African girls skip school during menstruation, and some drop out entirely. Not having access or money to buy supplies even leads to girls feeling that they must engage in transactional sex.

So how can the education and the public health and water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) sectors work together so that more girls complete secondary school? How can schools provide better sanitation facilities so girls aren’t afraid to go to school when they have their period? And how can girls get easier access to healthy sanitation products?

Join an expert panel on Thursday 13 October, 2-3.30pm BST, to discuss these questions and more.

The 10 Most Innovative Health Technologies Saving Millions In The Developing World

The 10 Most Innovative Health Technologies Saving Millions In The Developing World | Source: Medical Futurist, July 19, 2016 |

There are striking differences in the general social, economic or political background of the developed and developing country-groups, and developing countries are in dire need for creative and innovative medical solutions. Here are the 10 most innovative health technologies which could save millions of lives in these corners of the Earth. 102213836-padeducation1.530x298

Featured in this article are innovations on the manufacture of sanitary pads and water purification.

Read the complete article.

Managing menstruation in the workplace: an overlooked issue in low- and middle-income countries

Managing menstruation in the workplace: an overlooked issue in low- and middle-income countriesInt J Equity Health. 2016; 15: 86.

Authors: Marni Sommer, Sahani Chandraratna, Sue Cavill, et. al.

The potential menstrual hygiene management barriers faced by adolescent girls and women in workplace environments in low- and middle-income countries has been under addressed in research, programming and policy. Despite global efforts to reduce poverty among women in such contexts, there has been insufficient attention to the water and sanitation related barriers, specifically in relation to managing monthly menstruation, that may hinder girls’ and women’s contributions to the workplace, and their health and wellbeing.

There is an urgent need to document the specific social and environmental barriers they may be facing in relation to menstrual management, to conduct a costing of the implications of inadequate supportive workplace environments for menstrual hygiene management, and to understand the implications for girls’ and women’s health and wellbeing. This will provide essential evidence for guiding national policy makers, the private sector, donors and activists focused on advancing girls’ and women’s rights.

An Innovative Solution To Menstrual Hygiene In Developing Countries

An Innovative Solution To Menstrual Hygiene In Developing Countries | Source: Co.Design, June 2016 |

Meet Flo, an affordable, modular “period kit” that allows girls in impoverished countries to wash, dry, and store their reusable sanitary pads. 3050139-slide-s-3-a-device-that-makes-menstruation-safer

In underdeveloped countries where periods are stigmatized, adolescent girls have a lot more to deal with each month than physical discomfort and hormones. Pads and tampons aren’t always available in rural areas, and when they are they’re expensive. Reusable pads help solve some of the problem, but keeping them clean is tough when girls have to hide their period from others.

It’s that last problem that a group of students from the Art Center College of Design in California and Yale Business School set out to solve with Flo, a kit for washing, drying, and storing sanitary pads. It includes a detachable device using for spinning the pad dry and hanging it up in privacy, as well as a pouch for transporting.

Read the complete article.

Girls Across The Globe Are Missing School Because Of Their Periods

Girls Across The Globe Are Missing School Because Of Their Periods | Source: Yahoo News, April 18 2016 |

One in 10 school-age girls in Africa misses school or drops out for reasons related to her period, according to one widely cited UNICEF statistic.

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Photo courtesy of AFRIPADS

Growing up in Connecticut, Sophia Grinvalds would pick a queue with a female cashier when she went shopping for tampons, just to avoid making her purchase in front of a male employee.

But when she ended up working in Africa after graduation, she said she quickly realised that the “sense of fear or embarrassment” that comes along with menstruation and access to supplies in the U.S. can have astronomically bigger consequences for women and girls there.

Grinvalds had been living in a remote village in Uganda for five months when she was met with an unpleasant surprise: Her period arrived, but her feminine-product supply had run out.

“I did what any sensible person does,” she recalled. “I sent my boyfriend into a village to go and find me some pads.”

After coming up empty at the local depots — six-foot-by-six-foot wooden shacks that sell everything from eggs to soap — her now-husband, Paul, hitched a ride on a motorcycle to find a merchant that had Grinvalds’ needed supplies in stock. An errand that would have lasted 30 minutes or fewer back home in the U.S. ended up taking Paul more than three hours.

Read the complete article.

A Time for Global Action: Addressing Girls’ Menstrual Hygiene Management Needs in Schools

A Time for Global Action: Addressing Girls’ Menstrual Hygiene Management Needs in Schools. PLoS Medicine, Feb 2016.

Authors: Marni Sommer , Bethany A. Caruso , Murat Sahin , Teresa Calderon , Sue Cavill , Therese Mahon .

Summary Points

  • There is an absence of guidance, facilities, and materials for schoolgirls to manage their menstruation in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • Formative evidence has raised awareness that poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) contributes to inequity, increasing exposure to transactional sex to obtain sanitary items, with some evidence of an effect on school indicators and with repercussions for sexual, reproductive, and general health throughout the life course.
  • Despite increasing evidence and interest in taking action to improve school conditions for girls, there has not been a systematic mapping of MHM priorities or coordination of relevant sectors and disciplines to catalyze change, with a need to develop country-level expertise.
  • Columbia University and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) convened members of academia, nongovernmental organizations, the UN, donor agencies, the private sector, and social entrepreneurial groups in October 2014 (“MHM in Ten) to identify key public health issues requiring prioritization, coordination, and investment by 2024.
  • Five key priorities were identified to guide global, national, and local action.