Manushi Chhillar to promote menstrual hygiene

Elias Hubbard
May 29, 2020

"Not only have prices increased, but with the pandemic significantly affecting livelihoods and household incomes, people have less money to buy sanitary products than before the COVID-19 pandemic began, even when products are available", Dr Rosamund Ebdon, Plan International's Head of Policy, explained.

The department noted that many women and girls face significant challenges when it comes to managing their menstrual cycle and often struggle, due to lack of access to affordable sanitary products.

IThemba for Girls Trust (IGT) is joining the world in observing International Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Before the novel coronavirus pandemic started, there was an alarming number of women who didn't have what they needed to manage their menstruation. Access to feminine hygeine products and proper sanitation facilities is one part of the solution. Violence, poverty and cultural norms are key reasons but in many countries including Nigeria, girls miss school for a reason that is treated as a taboo, menstruation.

Thérèse Mahon, Regional South Asia Manager at WaterAid and Coordinator for the Global Menstrual Health and Hygiene Collective, said improving access to clean water was crucial to the long-term management of the pandemic, and not to slip back on the gains made in improving global menstrual health.

Ms Caldwell said: "Period stigma is both a cause and outcome of gender inequality and can have a serious impact on girls' life chances".

"Poor Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) infrastructure in healthcare facilities means female health workers and patients, including those in isolation, testing, and treatment centres, can not manage their menstruation adequately".

"This compromises not only their health and dignity but also the ability of the health system to deliver quality and effective care".

On the issue of persisting period stigma and taboos, the website stated, "Lockdowns intensify the impact of household-level taboos and stigmas on women and girls and make it more hard to manage menstruation, without shame and discomfort in often confined spaces".

In light of the continued unaffordability of menstrual hygiene products for women in Sri Lanka, the Advocata Institute proposes to the Finance Ministry to remove the PAL and General Duty components from the current taxation structure pertaining to the essential menstrual hygiene products in Sri Lanka, bringing the total tax levied on these products down to 8 percent. This should not be normal.

In the government, steps are being taken in the right direction. However, periods do not stop during pandemics.

Both men and women are uncomfortable talking about it and as a result not much attention is given to it regarding the basic hygienic environment such as toilets with running water and sanitary bags to dispose of their used pads necessary for a dignified menstrual experience especially in developing countries. "That's how bad the situation is", she told Reuters by phone, adding that water scarcity meant women in lockdown were washing in unclean sources.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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