Menstruation is not just a girl’s matter. You read that right. It’s everybody’s matter. It is a normal and healthy part of every girl and woman’s life.
Menstruation is a part of our wellbeing that is often not discussed and, in some cases, stigmatized.
When it comes to menstruation, what we don’t know can hurt us. Misinformation or a lack of information around menstruation leads to misconceptions and discrimination which hinders girls from treating it as the normal part of their childhood as it should be. It also hinders boys from understanding its importance and normalizing it.
Boys also have a role to play. Taboos and myths are circulated among everyone. Learning about menstruation and developing healthy habits to deal with “it” or helping friends and sisters deal with “it” is crucial. Educating boys and girls about menstruation can build confidence and encourage healthy habits. Poor menstrual hygiene can lead to health risks linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections.
UNICEF envisions a world where a period doesn’t create stress, shame, or any unnecessary obstacle for girls. Information about menstrual hygiene doesn’t only safeguard girls’ health but also helps them reach their full potential.
In the Middle East and North Africa region, we work on scaling up access to information about menstruation to boys, girls, men, and women. Here’s what we’re doing around the region:
In the State of Palestine, UNICEF worked with partners in the Gaza Strip to develop a mobile phone application to promote hygiene and menstrual hygiene management. It consists of games and quizzes which challenge misconceptions.
In Iraq, capacity building around transferring knowledge about menstrual hygiene management to teachers at school is ongoing.
In Lebanon, menstrual hygiene management has been integrated into health education packages soon to be piloted in schools across the country.
In Jordan, menstruation hygiene management is integrated into the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) standards in schools and programming.
In Tunisia, an ongoing hygiene promotion project includes activities on menstrual hygiene management. Manuals and sanitary napkins are distributed in high schools. The sanitary napkins are produced locally to support rural women’s employment.
Access to menstruation hygiene products is an essential element of UNICEF’s hygiene response in every country. Sanitary napkins are included in every hygiene kit we distribute. To know more about what is in a UNICEF hygiene kit, please check the below video:
Together with boy, girl, man, and woman we can stop stigmatizing menstruation.
If you believe #MenstruationMatters, share with us your experiences and thoughts using #MHDay2019
This article is published by UNICEF