UNFPA – Menstruation not a Girls’ Problem But a Human Rights Issue


Statement attributable to UNFPA Representative for Somalia Mr. Anders Thomsen Mogadishu, 28 May 2019:

Today on Menstrual Hygiene Day, we stand with Somali women and girls and commit towards providing more support towards national health systems, which promote menstrual health and provide treatment to girls and women suffering from menstrual disorders.

Poverty and humanitarian crises can limit women’s and girls’ access to culturally appropriate menstrual supplies and safe, private washing facilities. Vulnerable women and girls can also face poor access to safe bathing facilities and menstrual supplies – including those in settlements for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugee camps, impoverished school systems and prisons.

Gender inequality, extreme poverty, humanitarian crises and harmful traditions can all turn menstruation into a time of deprivation and stigma. Over a woman’s lifetime, she could easily spend three to eight years menstruating, during which she might face menstruation-related exclusion, neglect or discrimination.

Lack of adequate sanitary hygiene products forces some girls to use unhygienic materials, potentially increasing urogenital symptoms and infection.

UNFPA Somalia supports and educates community health workers who can provide care for, and information about, menstrual health. This includes promoting adolescent- and youth-friendly health services, which can help girls and young women better understand and care for their bodies.

We’re also reaching women and girls directly with menstrual supplies and safe sanitation facilities and distributing dignity kits, which contain disposable and reusable menstrual pads, underwear, soap and related items. UNFPA Somalia also helps to improve the safety of toilets and bathing facilities in displacement camps by working with camp officials, distributing flashlights and installing lights.

Today, we, at UNFPA Somalia call for the prioritization of menstrual hygiene by all as we work together towards the elimination of violence against women and girls, and the guarantee of all rights, including reproductive rights, for all women everywhere.

UNFPA inquiries: please contact Ms. Pilirani Semu-Banda, Communications, Partnerships and Donor Relations Specialist, UNFPA Somalia, Tel: +254 734500439; semu-banda@unfpa.org


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