By Odette Hekster, Managing Director, PSI Europe and Sandy Garcon, Senior Manager, PSI
The Kulczyk Foundation and Founders Pledge have released a landmark report on the menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) gap – outlining ways the global community can work together to end it. PSI is proud to be named as one of the eight impactful organizations addressing MHH.
Around the world, menstruation is often an overlooked and stigmatized issue. Of the 1.9 billion individuals who menstruate, research shows that an estimated 500 million lack complete access to menstrual health and hygiene. The Kulczyk Foundation and Founders Pledge have released the first report of its kind in addressing the causes and results of the MHH policy, programming and funding gap, and how the global health community can address it.
The report, “A bloody problem: period poverty, why we need to end it and how to do it” highlights the Kulczyk Foundation and Founders Pledge’s recommendations for cost-effective solutions and initiatives as global development practitioners work in tandem to address the MHH gap. PSI is proud to join Days for Girls, Inua Dada Foundation, Irise International, NFCC, Sesame Workshop, Simavi, and WoMena in being recognized as a high-impact organization.
The report highlights the following key strengths to PSI’s approach to addressing MHH:
- MHH integration into its sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) work, which experts cite as a key gap in the current MHH ecosystem and body of work.
- Thoughtful program design that uses qualitative and quantitative research, market information, and human-centred design to iterate new strategies to address menstrual health.
- A long track record of assessing program impact and cost of impact, and a stated interested in building the monitoring and evaluation work for MHH.
- Extensive experience in market shaping and implementing mass communication campaigns to build product and service availability and access.
- Work ongoing in multiple geographies, including many without a history of MHH work which has the dual benefit of achieving greater coverage of services and generating evidence both in terms of MHH epidemiology and how programmes function in different contexts.
Enhancing MHH effectively requires a multi-tiered strategy that combines cross-sectoral programming, research and advocacy. As PSI’s work has shown – and as the report reinforces — menstrual health interventions must be culturally and gender-relevant and include educational elements that empower women and girls to understand their body and reproductive cycle, and sexual health, in an environment that combats stigma and taboo. Funding is needed not only to support and scale programming but also to solidify the research and build out the evidence base.
This report is another step in the growing recognition of MHH as a significant global health issue and essential to move closer to reaching the sustainable development goals. Congratulations to the organizations recognized in the report, and thank you to our partners who continue to dedicate efforts towards addressing the global unmet needs of all people who menstruate.
Learn more about the Kulczyk Foundation, Founders Pledge, menstrual health and hygiene landscape and how PSI and other effective organizations are tackling this issue here.