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Menstrual Memo 
Sent with love from the Menstrual Health Hub (6 min. read)
Let the love & compassion flow
 

 It’s been a tough few weeks. We are already seeing the unprecedented impact CoVID-19 is having on the future of the world. We're as uncertain as everyone else about what the future brings, but we have hope. For better or for worse, periods are not going anywhere. PSI reminds us that COVID-19 has made menstrual health more urgent than ever, and as American activist Jennifer Weiss-Wolf proclaims, 'Periods don't stop for Pandemics'. Days for Girls created this flyer to share far & wide about ways to create emergency innovative menstrual options.
We must be there for our each other in many more ways that we could have imagined, as we learn of the potential fallout for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), especially regarding those who have to #StayTheFuckHome and will experience domestic violence. For more information on implications for sexual and reproductive health and rights globally, join this SRHM webinar on Friday March 27th, 2020.
Alas, in this Memo you'll find some much needed period pick-me ups, including great news from Germany and South Africa, exciting educational collaborations, brand new research and more resulting from the collective power and progress we have made as a global community! 



Big, BIG virtual hugs, 

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Marching through March


On Sunday, March 8th, International Women's Day, thousands flocked to the streets of Berlin, Germany (prior to when wide-spread social distancing measures were put in place) to march for women's rights! The PERIOD BLOC showed up full force with some amazing signs, and marched in support of menstrual health and hygiene! 

'Fight for Your Menstrual Rights', held by German menstrual activist Franka Frei and author of Periode ist Politisch
'Keep On Surfing' (note the little surfer in the menstrual cup)
'Ich menstruiere auf das Patriarchat' ('I menstruate on the patriarchy')
A simple bloody bum from behind
Some of our favorite signs included:
- 'Fight for Your Menstrual Rights', held by inspirational German menstrual activist Franka Frei / author of Periode ist Politisch), Keep On Surfing' (note the little surfer in the menstrual cup),'Viva la Vulva!", Ich menstruiere auf das Patriarchat' ('I menstruate on the patriarchy'), and 'Power to the Period!', and a simple bloody bum.

Special shout-out to Einhorn in Berlin for giving us a space & art supplies to make our signs!
Image: Days for Girls International

South Africa Coalition for Menstrual Health & Hygiene (SACMHM) launches in Johannesburg 

POLICY
 
The South African Coalition for Menstrual Health & Hygiene (SACMHM) is an alliance for collective action to strengthen coordination amongst menstrual health (MH) stakeholders working to develop responsive MH solutions in South Africa. South Africa’s Department of Women, Youth, and People with Disabilities (DWYPD) launched their national coalition for Menstrual Health & Hygiene on March 9-10, 2020. This brought together 100 key stakeholders across the MHM continuum in South Africa including government, UN Agencies, NGOs, private sector and academic institutions.
The Deputy Minister Professor, Hlengiwe Mkhize, in the Presidency of the DWYPD spoke and committed support from the Departments and her personal support towards prioritizing menstrual health. It was encouraging to see inclusive language being used in the discussions to ensure no one is left behind.
Read the full 'SACMHM Launch' summary here
Measuring menstrual experiences on a questionnaire
Image: Hotjar.com

A new way to measure menstrual experiences
 
 RESEARCH


The Menstrual Practice Needs Scale (MPNS-36) has been published as a new and freely available tool to help researchers and practitioners measure menstrual experiences. The scale focuses on respondents’ appraisal of the reliability, comfort, adequacy and concerns related to the practices they undertake and environments they use to care for their body during menstruation. A menstrual practices questionnaire (MPQ) provides a core set of best practice self-report questions to capture respondents’ menstrual hygiene practices.
Both are available for download for free.


Partially funded by The Case for Her, the measure was developed by a team of researchers led by Dr. Julie Hennegan at John Hopkins Bloomgberg School of Public Health. Scale items were developed from a systematic review of qualitative studies of menstrual experiences across low- and middle-income countries and the measure was tested and validated among menstruating schoolgirls in Soroti, Uganda. For more information, see the peer-review publication for more about the measure development and validation.

The MPNS is ready for use in your community
Image: Ruby Cup

A COLLABORATION WORTH PRAISE:

Ruby Cup's has a new Trainer's Toolkit for
MH Education Workshops


EDUCATION

Ruby Cup have partnered with WoMena and released a free toolkit for running menstrual health workshops. This toolkit includes a guide to running menstrual education sessions, along with accompanying tools for the sessions, including flip chart print outs and a handbook to give our to participants.
Ruby Cup offers access to the toolkit to anyone who is interested in running workshops in their local community, or to individuals who would like more information about menstrual health and how to safely use a menstrual cup. It can be downloaded and used by anyone, anywhere in the world and will make running menstrual health and education workshops easier and more effective for educators and facilitators around the world. For a copy of the toolkit, email hello@rubycup.com.
WoMena also just produced this FAQs on menstrual cups, free for all to consult and share. THANKS Ruby Cup and WoMena for all your contributions to the menstrual space!
Email here!

Diagnosing Endometriosis Using Menstrual Blood

INNOVATION
 

It is estimated that around one in ten women of reproductive age are affected affected by endometriosis. Despite this, and despite an increasing understanding of endometriosis, it’s still very difficult to diagnose, with studies suggesting that the average time until diagnosis, seven years. One of the reasons for this might be because definitive diagnosis requires invasive laparoscopic surgery.

 

There’s help on the way! The ROSE (Researchers Out Smart Endometriosis) study team have been working to develop a less invasive diagnosis process. The team aims to develop a procedure to diagnose women with endometriosis through the analysis of menstrual effluent (blood) through cellular differences. This would be done through a first-of-its-kind menstrual effluent collection sponge.

Show me the research!
Image: Guardian
 
Period Products will be free in Scotland for those who need them
 
 POLICY

Scotland's Parliament has passed a bill to provide free menstrual products to everyone who needs them. This bill would makes pads tampons free to everyone who needs them in specific public places, such as community centers, youth clubs, and pharmacies. This is the first step in the process; the bill will now go through the second phase, where legislators can suggest amendments. We'll be following it closely.
The rest of Great Britain also has some great news: The 5% tampon tax will be abolished in December 2020 when the transition period for the UK leaving the EU has come to an end.
Great menstrual news all around from the UK!
CORRECTION 

We’d like to make a correction from the last Menstrual Memo. One victory mentioned that 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.
This menstrual cup is not the first to be made and designed in India, Stonesoup designed the first menstrual cup in India in 2016-2017, where it has also been made since late 2017.
RESEARCH updates

in collaboration with


 
1. Kansiime et al., 2020: Menstrual health intervention and school attendance in Uganda (MENISCUS-2): a pilot intervention study. Longitudinal study with pre-post evaluation of a pilot intervention was done in two secondary day schools among 369 female and male students in Entebbe Municipality in Wakiso District, Uganda with the aim of piloting test a multicomponent Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) intervention (puberty education, drama skit, MHM kit, including reusable pads and MHM Education, pain management, and WASH facility improvements) to improve Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) and school attendance in Uganda. Results: The proportion of girls reporting anxiety about the next period decreased from 58.6% to 34.4%, and reported use of effective pain management increased from 76.4% to 91.4%. In addition, 81.4% of girls reported improved school toilet facilities, which improved their comfort in managing menstruation. 81.3% of students reported attending puberty education sessions and 93.4% of girls reported receiving the MHM kit. Both schools performed the drama skit and the skit increased MHM awareness and enabled some of the girls to talk about MHM with their parents, especially their fathers.

2. Janoowalla et al., 2020: The impact of menstrual hygiene management on adolescent health: The effect of Go! pads on rate of urinary tract infection in adolescent females in Kibogora, Rwanda. An interventional prospective cohort study was conducted in four secondary schools among 209 female students aged 18–24 in the Western Province of Rwanda from May 2017 to October 2017 to determine the rates of urinary tract infection (UTI) in adolescent users of menstrual pads versus non-users. Results: Although, there was no difference in the rate of UTI with and without the use of menstrual pads,  a decreased risk of vulvovaginal symptoms were found in self-reported “always” versus “never” pad users.
3.
Goddard and Sommer, 2020: Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management and WASH in Urban Slums: Gaps in the Evidence and Recommendations. A literature review highlighting critical interlinkages between urbanization, sanitation, and menstruation in low-resource urban contexts. It identifies gaps in the existing menstruation-related evidence base that have implications for the health and wellbeing of adolescent girls and women and develops three recommendations. 1.There is a significant need to build the evidence on girls’ and women’s lived experiences of managing menstruation in urban contexts, including issues of privacy, dignity and access to water and sanitation systems. 2. There is an important need to build the evidence on what works and what is acceptable in terms of addressing menstrual disposal in diverse cultural urban contexts with varying systems of governance. 3. Global development frameworks should include more specific targets and indicators related to MHM, in order to collect more robust data and generate increased resources, and ultimately improve health, wellbeing, and related development outcomes. It concludes that failing to include MHM, and sexual and reproductive health more broadly, in the urban development agenda excludes the unique needs of women and adolescent girls and hinders the achievement of global development goals.
Menstrual & Female Health Events

MHM
Virtual Conference


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


Online

Register here
PMDD & Me Conference
Managing your PMDD:
Symptoms and Solutions


April 24 + 25, 2020
University of Winchester, UK

Online

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Jobs & Funding Opportunities in Menstrual & Female Health

Don't forget to mention that you found the post on the MH Hub! 


Customer Happiness and Events Manager
(Part-time)



Remote


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Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation; Global Grand Challenges

Innovations in Materials Science for a Transformative Menstrual Health and Hygiene Product

More Info Here
The Global Menstrual Map
615 registered & going strong! 
 
The Menstrual Health Hub has the most comprehensive overview of who is doing what, where, around menstrual health and periods, worldwide.
The Menstrual Map has almost 23,000 views to date!
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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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