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Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on menstrual health and hygiene

A new brief by UNICEF is aimed at helping responding agencies anticipate and mitigate the collateral/secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls’ and women’s ability to manage their menstruation.


Primary impacts of an outbreak are defined as the direct and immediate consequences of the epidemic on human health. Secondary impacts are defined as those caused by the epidemic indirectly, either through the effect of fear on the population or because of the measures taken to contain and control it. COVID-19 is a new disease and evidence is evolving.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets and contact with these droplets on surfaces. COVID-19 does not spread through faeces or blood, including menstrual blood.To date there is no evidence of impacts of COVID-19 on the menstrual cycle directly, though stress, anxiety and malnutrition can impact reproductive health. The COVID-19 pandemic will, however, have secondary impacts on girls’ and women’s ability to manage their menstruation and their health.

An estimated 1.8 billion girls, women, and gender non-binary persons menstruate, yet millions of menstruators across the world cannot manage their monthly cycle in a dignified, healthy way. Even in the best of times, gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services often cause menstrual health and hygiene needs to go unmet. In emergencies, these deprivations can be exacerbated. The result is farreaching negative impacts on the lives of those who menstruate: restricting mobility, freedom and choices; reducing participation in school, work and community life; compromising safety; and causing stress and anxiety.

Access the full brief 'Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on menstrual health and hygiene'.

Period Pivots: Exploring Changing Business Models within Menstrual Health & Hygiene (MHH)

Later today, UNICEF is hosting a webinar at 9AM EST titled Period Pivots: Exploring Changing Business Models within Menstrual Health & Hygiene (MHH).

The webinar focusing on how social enterprises working in menstrual health and hygiene have developed and adapted their business models to respond to changes in their operating environment. The panelists come from successful social enterprises working on topics and innovations related to menstrual health. During the course of the discussion, they will share their insights about their business and distribution models and how they have evolved over the years, whether due to changing needs of women and girls, market-specific challenges (e.g. in light of increased competition) or global influences (like now, due to COVID-19). The event aims to shed light on how MHH businesses have risen to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing and changing field, and provide inspiration and lessons for other organizations on responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more and register here.

Virtual Conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Schools

On 21 May 2020, beginning at 7 AM EDT, the Virtual Conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Schools will be hosted. This year’s theme, Innovation in MHM: Putting Girls at the Center, aims to highlight examples of programs that found new ways to identify and address barriers to safe and dignified MHM.

Visit the conference website for more information.

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