WHO and HRP Advocate for Strong Cross-Sectoral Response to Menstrual Health, Moving Beyond Hygiene
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Special Programme on Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) are making significant strides in addressing menstrual health beyond hygiene. By partnering with various organizations, they are advocating for a cross-sectoral approach to meet the comprehensive needs of adolescents.
Research has revealed that adolescent girls often lack information and preparation for menstruation, leading to feelings of shame and misconceptions. To address this, WHO has identified five key action points: educating girls about menstruation, promoting positive attitudes, improving access to sanitary products and facilities, enhancing family support, and ensuring access to competent health workers.
Tools and Guidance Empower Health Workers and Caregivers. Advancing Menstrual Health as a Cross-Sectoral Issue
HRP and WHO have developed desk reference tools for health workers, equipping them to provide effective care and support to adolescents and their caregivers. These tools address common concerns related to menstruation, such as pain and irregularity. Furthermore, WHO has incorporated menstrual health education into the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, emphasizing the normalcy of menstruation and combating secrecy and stigma.
WHO and HRP, in collaboration with partners, are working towards a broader understanding of menstrual health. They advocate for the use of the term “menstrual health” instead of “menstrual hygiene” and have developed a clear definition to foster consistent discussions. Additionally, they have reviewed the menstrual health field to map the next ten years and strengthen the health sector response.
Menstrual Health Symposium Sets the Stage for Continued Action
Ahead of Menstrual Health Day, the Africa Menstrual Health Symposium, hosted by the African Coalition for Menstrual Health Management, aims to achieve menstrual justice through grassroots and multisectoral approaches. This event highlights the ongoing efforts to integrate menstrual health into sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender, education, and humanitarian settings.