Girls and women who menstruate face compounding problems in reaching full potential due to lack of access to hygienic and affordable menstrual products, and clean water and toilets, according to Save the Children Philippines.
At the Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration, the child-rights organization called for government investments on holistic approaches to address underlying causes on poor menstrual health and hygiene.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines, said that supporting menstrual health and hygiene will help millions of girls get access to education opportunities, protect them from discrimination, and ensure their well-being.
“Girls particularly, are at risk of missing out on learning or not being able to participate in class when they have their period” said Muyot. “Managing menstruation in school and at home becomes very challenging due to the absence of adequate resources and support, and these challenges are exacerbated in times of emergencies and disasters including the current COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
Jonathan Valdez, School Health and Nutrition Advisor of Save the Children Philippines, said the physical, emotional, and social aspects of girls' overall health are at risk when it comes to menstrual health and hygiene.
In a school survey conducted by Save the Children Philippines, it showed that majority of girls face difficulty of concentrating and participating in their classes when they have menstrual period.
“The limitation of human activities and competing resources due to impacts of the current COVID-19 crisis to families’ economy pose challenges to menstruating girls and women at home,” said Valdez.
He also raised concern on compounding difficulties being faced by girls with disabilities, those in deprived and marginalized communities who lack access to menstrual health and hygiene support.
Valdez said there is a pressing need to “break taboos and stigma” on menstrual health issues to address the needs of menstruating girls and women.
“Girls and women’s period will not stop for this current crisis, and the support to managing it should be included in our actions,” said Valdez. He added that the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, should integrate programs supporting the needs of girls and women in managing menstruation.
“Our collective actions should continue beyond the pandemic and step up in making investments so that no one will be held back because of their period,” Valdez said.
Save the Children Philippines has been distributing life-saving hygiene kits, household kits, healthy food packs to thousands of low income families in Metro Manila including those affected by the recent fire in Pasay City. The support also includes marginalized communities in Southern Mindanao to keep children and their families protected from COVID-19.
Save the Children Philippines is encouraging everyone to join its humanitarian response for menstrual health and hygiene management which also extends to providing menstrual health and hygiene education to girls and women in evacuation centers during emergencies such as typhoons and earthquakes and the recent Taal Volcanic eruption.