Sent with love from the Menstrual Health Hub (6 min. read)

Every new beginning comes from
some other beginning's end


We're already seeing some trends we predicted for 2020 coming to fruition before our eyes! That's the beautiful thing about menstrual health - everything always comes full cycle.

This memo is gushing with news around inclusivity, important new period policies, innovation in MHH, brand new research and a new collaboration worth praise! 

Yours forever, 

P.s. Don't miss the EXCITING events happening around
March 8, International Women's Day
(including a few online)!
Image: Inua Dada
News from Nairobi:
We must listen to the voices of all menstruators 


Saturday, February 8th kicked off a monthly series of conversations aimed at including everyone’s voice in the fight for menstrual equity in Kenya. The series launch was hosted in Nairobi by Inua Dada and Janet Mbugua, a menstrual health activist and author of a collection of period experience stories, and perspectives titled “My First Time”. The conference provided a forum for cross-sector players including members of the public, government, civil society, and corporates to share, learn and brainstorm what more ought to be done to end period poverty in Kenya. 

Florence Akara of Femme International wrote this guest post summarising the event
Why inclusion matters in Kenya
Period Products coming to UK schools

In England, all state schools and education organisations that serve learners from 16 to 19 will now be able to provide free period products to all menstruators who need them. The policy underscores the need for inclusion, highlighting that non-binary and transgender students are eligible and requires that any language and communication about the policy should reflect this. With this new policy, students will now be allowed to access free period products whenever they’re in need. How bloody great is this?!
More on Britain's victory

2020 is the year for Innovation in MHH

Taking place April 2nd, 2020 is UNICEF's 8th Annual Virtual Conference on MHM in Schools, which normally brings in over 1000 participants from all over the world. Contributors will share the latest research and programming - including successes and failures - around the theme ‘Innovation in MHM: Putting Girls at the Center’. This conference aims to highlight national examples of new ways to identify and address barriers to safe and dignified MHM in development programming.
Check out all the ways to get involved here.


Additionally, Duke University and UNICEF have come together to create the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator, with the first year’s cohort focused on developing and scaling MHH innovations in East Africa. Check out the 6 enterprises that have been announced for the 2020 cohort!


There’s more! The first menstrual cup to be designed and made in India (including a case that will also work as a cleaning kit for the cup), was selected as one of the 14 finalists at the National Innovation Challenge in New Delhi on January 19 for Youth Co:Lab, supported by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and NITI Aayog. The cup was designed in India by Pramod Priya Ranjan, and the prototype is being made in Bangalore. 

Let’s carry on this innovation around menstruation well into 2020! 

Diva International announces unique menstrual education partnership with Plan International Canada to reach Indigenous youth


Diva International Inc. have partnered with Plan International Canada, supporting the Jays Care Foundation’s James Bay Girls At Bat program for young people of the Mushkegowuk Territory in Northern Ontario. The partnership will give $10,000 to Plan International Canada and will distribute Diva’s menstrual cup to attendees of the James Bay Girls At Bat Youth Champion Retreat alongside menstrual health educational workbooks about the cycle, PMS symptoms and remedies, period tracking and overall body literacy.
Read more about this awesome collab here
Image: RCNi
Blood Tests Can Predict Timing of Final Menstrual Period


Isn’t it wild that in this day-and-age, we can only tell if menopause has happened if your period has stopped? Surely there’s a better way to know then just, like, waiting, right? Well, according to new research published in Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, blood tests could predict when a woman is approaching menopause. The study found that the levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) could anticipate when a woman’s final menstruation would happen. How? Women have a limited supply of eggs which decreases as they approach menopause. AMH can indicate how many eggs a woman has left and, consequently, can predict when menopause will occur. Science for the win!
Show me the research!
RESEARCH updates

in collaboration with

When talking about MHH, it is essential to refer to evidence-based research to ground claims about important links between menstruation and school absenteeism. For example, the statistic that 1 in 10 girls in Africa miss school because of menstruation has proven to be wildly incorrect misinformation, yet it continues to appear in articles or on the home page of many organizations working to eradicate period poverty.
It’s time to get accurate!
WoMena recently put together this fact sheet based on a literature review of MH research around the link between school absenteeism and menstruation. They also put together a research Matrix, to help researchers and practitioners better understand the complicated linkages between context - i.e., managing menstruation in emergencies or not having MH education - with negative outcomes, like reproductive tract infections (RTIs) or missed school. 

Here are 5 new pieces of research for your consideration:

1. Hennegan, et al., 2020 Measuring menstrual hygiene experience: development and validation of the Menstrual Practice Needs Scale (MPNS-36) in Soroti, Uganda  This study describes the development and validation of the Menstrual Practice Needs Scale (MPNS-36), which measures the extent to which respondents’ menstrual practices and environments meet their needs. The MPNS-36 demonstrated acceptable reliability and validity. It is the first measure to capture perceived menstrual hygiene and may be useful across a range of study designs. Future research should explore the validity and suitability of the measure across contexts and populations.

2. Schlievert et al., 2019: Effect of non-absorbent intravaginal menstrual/contraceptive products of Staphyloccus aureus and product of superantigen TSST-1. Vitro tests conducted to evaluate three types of tampons, including (1) stationary flask, (2) shake flask, and (3) tampon sac and non-absorbent products such as menstrual cups, contraceptive diaphragms, and menstrual discs for effect on Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1). Findings: Product composition did not affect bacterial growth or TSST-1 production. Tampons showed no effect on S. aureus growth, but they showed enhanced TSST-1 production as a function of trapped oxygen in stationary cultures and tampon sacs but not in shake flasks. The non-absorbent products also showed no enhanced S. aureus growth or TSST-1 production.

3. Thomson et al., 2019: What's missing in MHM? Moving beyond hygiene in menstrual hygiene management. This article argues that Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)’s definition should not only mainly focus on provision of technical interventions like providing menstrual products and adequate sanitation for menstruators, but other key factors such as pain management, the wider community within which menstruators exists, security and safety of menstruators, taboos and stigma surrounding menstruation, transgender men and others who menstruate, groups facing specific challenges related to menstruation, the roles of other sectors beyond WASH and Education in MHM should be included in the MHM policy to ensure menstruators’ rights, dignity, and well-being. 

4. Valiaveettil et al., 2019: High prevalence of abnormal menstruation among women living with HIV in Canada. A cross-sectional study was conducted to measure the prevalence and correlates of abnormal menstruation among 1422 women aged 16 and over living with HIV in British Columbia (BC), Ontario, and Quebec in Canada. Findings: Over half (56%) of women living with HIV reported abnormal menstruation. Abnormal menstruation was associated with genetic, socio-behavioral factors (province of residence and current smoking), Hepatitis B coinfection, and current ART use.  The prevalence of abnormal menstruation was higher among women who reside in BC compared to residence of Ontario and Quebec.

5. Arafa et al., 2019: Association of sleep duration and insomnia with menstrual symptoms among young women in Upper Egypt. A cross-sectional analytical study carried out among 4122 young women aged 12 to 25 years and residing in Beni-Suef City, Egypt to detect the association between sleep problems and menstrual symptoms among young women. Findings: Young women who reported sleep < 8 and < 7 h/day had more premenstrual spasm than those who slept ≥ 8 h/day. 11.6% of the young women had insomnia during the previous 6 months. Compared with those without insomnia, young women with insomnia were more likely to report premenstrual spasm, nervousness, fatigue, headache, breast pain, weight gain, Gastrointestinal disturbance, and dysmenorrhea. No conclusive association was identified between sleeping hours and menstrual disorders.

Menstrual & Female Health Events
Standards for
Disposable Sanitary Pads

February 26, 2020
7:30am EST / 1:30pm CET

Online / Webinar 
Register here

The Period Junction

March 7 + 8, 2020
Bangalore, India

Event info
"Periode ist Politisch" 
by Franka Frei
Book launch party (in German)

March 6, 2020

Berlin, Germany

Event info

Let's talk about periods

Short films. Period Comedy. Music.

March 7, 2020

Berlin, Germany

Event info
International Women's Day March: PERIOD BLOC

March 8, 2020
1:30PM CET

Berlin, Germany

Event info
How Do We Measure Progress? Monitoring Menstrual MHH

March 10, 2020
8:00AM EST

Webinar / Online

Register here
The Future Purpose is Female

March 10, 2020
6:00 - 8:30PM

Berlin, Germany 

More info

MHM Virtual Conference

April 2, 2020
6:30 - 10:30 EST


Register here

Social Innovation Symposium
Exploring Social Impact: Period

April 3, 2020, 1:00 - 5:00 PM EST

Duke University, North Carolina, US

Event info
PMDD & Me Conference
Managing your PMDD:
Symptoms and Solutions

April 24 + 25, 2020
University of Winchester, UK

More info here
The Global Menstrual Map
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*We use the word female to denote the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova). At the MH Hub, the term 'female health' is used to capture the experiences related to the presence of the menstrual cycle and the specific health issues an individual may face over their life cycle as a result.  We recognize that not all women menstruate, and not all who menstruate identify with being a woman, and strongly advocate for the inclusion of diverse voices, identities and bodies in discussions around female and menstrual health.

Copyright © *|2020|* *|Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub)|*, All rights reserved.

The Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) is a female health impact organization focused on ecosystem-building, knowledge sharing and high-level advocacy around menstrual health worldwide. Menstrual Health Hub gUG (haftungsbeschränkt) is a German nonprofit-enterprise company (limited liability)  

MH Hug UG is a strategic consulting agency specializing in gender and female health.
 MH Hub UG (haftungsbeschränkt) is an German enterprise company (limited liability). Both companies are registered at Factory Berlin, 76/77 Rheinsbergerstraße, 10115 Berlin, Germany. 

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