Over 400 girls gathered at the Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School (YHSS) auditorium in Thimpu on 28th May 2015 to observe the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Day in Bhutan.
Over 400 girls gathered at the Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School (YHSS) auditorium on 28th May 2015 to observe the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Day in Bhutan. The event created a platform to bring various agencies together to express solidarity and mark the importance of “Menstrual Hygiene Management” for women and girls. Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School in collaboration with the Department of Youth and Sports took the lead in organising the half-day programme with technical and financial support from PHED and SNV.
The day was celebrated to create awareness on the right of women and girls to manage their menstruation in privacy and with dignity. To help understand the national situation, SNV shared its findings on menstrual hygiene in Bhutan collected during a national study conducted in 2014. The study highlighted issues related to access and affordability, knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, and social support. The findings clearly showed that issues arise because menstrual hygiene is not talked about openly, leading to poor hygiene practices during menstruation and incorrect disposal of used sanitary products.
Various presentations were made by the school health coordinators on menstrual hygiene management, challenges and impacts of poor menstrual hygiene on health, reasons for girl-friendly toilets, and importance of safe disposal of sanitary pads. The two pilot schools from Thimphu also shared their experiences, advantages and disadvantages of reusable sanitary pads and demonstrated how the pads were made. The students expressed how it has helped in addressing the access issues to sanitary napkins for the underprivileged girls in the school and gaining lifelong skills in making sanitary napkins.
The celebration successfully concluded by pledging to join hands in breaking the silence on menstrual hygiene at work, home and in schools, and supporting all women to manage their menstrual health with dignity. Happy 28th May. Join the cause!