May 28, 2019 • Joyner Musombi
On any given day more than 800 million women and girls are menstruating, yet menstrual health and hygiene is a neglected health and development issue. As defined by UNICEF and WHO, Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is when women and adolescent girls use clean material to absorb or collect menstrual blood. This material can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstrual period. MHM includes soap and water for washing the body as required, and access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials.
UNESCO includes additional systemic factors such as informed and comfortable professionals, referral and access to health services, positive social norms and advocacy and policy to the MHM definition.
Managing periods at home, school and work is a major challenge for women and adolescent girls who lack Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities. About half of the schools in low-income countries lack adequate drinking water, sanitation and hygiene crucial for girls and female teachers to manage their period. Poor menstrual hygiene can pose physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections. Many girls and women have limited options for affordable menstrual materials causing them to resort to unhealthy methods and even missing school or work.
Tips to maintain hygiene during menstruation:
It’s time for us to take action to maintain proper menstrual hygiene for our well-being and productivity.
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