Menstrual Hygiene Day (28th May, 2018)

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May 28th  marks the second-annual Menstrual Hygiene Day, spearheaded by Berlin-based nonprofit WASH United to break the silence surrounding menstruation, which often leads to debilitating social stigma that negatively affects women and girls across the globe. This is a day we can use to help raise awareness of the challenges women and girls face during their menstrual days.

Five ways to make this cause achievable is by:

  1. Creating awareness – spread the word
  2. Attending local events or host your own on the subject
  3. Donating to or volunteer to menstrual health organization
  4. Supporting relevant social enterprises - like SHEVA, Moxie or Luna pads, instead of your drugstore, to help support efforts in other countries.
  5. Trying more sustainable options i.e. switch from using tampons and sanitary pads to options, such as menstrual cups, biodegradable sanitary pads or reusable pads.

Here are just a few facts that show the state of menstrual hygiene management today:

  • UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 African girl’s misses school because of menstruation, eventually leading to higher school dropout rates.
  • In urban India, between 43% and 88% of adolescent girls use reusable cloth for their periods, but do not clean them properly.
  • According to WASH United, HER Project interviewed Bangladeshi garment workers in 2010 and found that 73% miss work for an average of six unpaid work days per month, due to infections caused by unsanitary menstrual materials.
  • Environmentally sustainable sanitary options, such as menstrual cups, are becoming more common, but pose a problem for women in areas lacking clean water and soap.

In Kenya, the scenario is no different, research show that girls face many challenges with 65% of women and girls not being able to afford sanitary pads. Many girls do not discuss menstruation with parents. The issue is being tackled by;

  1. Creating awareness
  2. There is an increase to accessible cheap sanitary
  3. Great awareness of WASH organization
  4. Policies – a lot of national attention to this issue

Parents and elders are requested to create awareness and donate pads in order to keep young girls in school.

Compiled by Grace Sitienei – University of Nairobi Library.