Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) is a day set aside for a global movement for organisations, groups and individuals who share similar interests in promoting and advocating good menstrual hygiene management. From its first celebration in 2014, the commemoration has enjoyed more recognition. It is a day dedicated to awareness, sensitisations, and actions towards menstrual health and hygiene. With over 800 million girls and women menstruating daily globally, young women often experience barriers around period management. The efforts made towards creating access to standard sanitation facilities, menstrual hygiene products, and education, are not adequate in providing an enabling environment for all menstruating girls and women to reach their full potential. This informed the theme for this year — “More Action and Investment in Menstrual Health and Hygiene Now!”
Girls who are just crossing into puberty need to be educated about menstruation and understand their menstruation cycles, and women need to be able to make well informed choices about their menstrual health and hygiene. They also need to be able to access different menstrual products at an affordable rate when needed and be able to access services pertaining to their menstrual health when they have questions or concerns. There are also Menstruation problems and challenges that girls need to have enough information to overcome. Girls and women need to be able to have access to safe and clean facilities during their periods, as well as enjoy their rights to privacy. This does not exclude educating men and boys about periods, thereby helping the young girls and women in being confident and comfortable about this normal and healthy cycle in their lives. In some cases, delays in menstruation onset is known to be a major source of worry. Menstrual Health Management is a major part of Onelife Initiative’s School Connect Project.
The campaign against stigma, negative social norms, and intimidation around menstruation is a continuous effort. Globally, so many women and girls isolate themselves from society and have been prevented from reaching their full potential because they are excluded, looked down on, or tagged dirty and unclean, just because they are menstruating. Girls should not be ashamed or shy of a healthy biological process. Menstrual health has affected the productivity of girls in schools as well as that of women in the workplace and this should not be. Menstrual health and hygiene is a human right issue and it is connected to the Sustainable Development Goals. To march into a reality where every girl and woman has every resource needed for optimum menstrual health, more actions and investments need to start now! Break the silence, make use of every platform to demystify negative norms, stigma and taboos around menstruation. Let’s work to ensure girls have access to menstrual hygiene resources and facilities, no girl should be left behind. Happy Menstrual Hygiene Day!