Menstruation, menstrual period or menses is the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus.
The menstrual blood which is made up of blood and tissue from the inside the uterus, flows from the uterus through the cervix and comes out through the vagina.
While menses are part of normal human development and should be treated with respect no matter the circumstances, some women and girls in Kenya and globally face stigma and ridicule during this time.
This is mainly because of the myths and stigma surrounding menstruation, often leading to shame and confusion, poor hygiene during the menstrual period, incidence of urinary tract and vaginal infections, absenteeism from school and work and a sense of poor self-worth that persists long after the menses are over.
In addition, studies conducted in low and middle-income Countries indicate that women and girls face several challenges relating to information access about menstruation, affordable and appropriate sanitary products, poor sanitation facilities and lack of proper avenues for disposal of menstrual waste (Sommer et al., 2016; Chandra-Mouli & Patel, 2017).
Women and girls can be supported proper menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) by:
- Ensuring they have access to clean menstrual material such as sanitary pads, tampons or menstrual cups, to absorb or collect blood that can be changed as often as 4 hours
- Providing them with clean water and soap for washing their bodies as required
- Ensuring that they have access to facilities for disposing the used menstrual management materials
- Providing them with privacy as they do all of the above
It is our joint duty to ensure that each and every girl and woman around us menstruates in a safe and hygienic environment, and that menstrual waste is properly disposed.
Men and boys have an active role to play in breaking the myths and stigma around MHM and should be more involved in awareness creation among the community and in online spaces.
For more information on Menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene Management, have a look at the MHM policy (2019-2030)