How do we define MHM? - Need a more encompassing and clever definition?

  • Alice
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WANTED: How do you define MHM?

Dear Sanitation Community,

For the global programme 'Sanitation for Millions' I am currently drafting a position paper on MHM, with the aim of outlining our approach to menstrual hygiene management in terms of infrastructure, products, supplies and education.

In 2014, UNICEF and WHO have defined MHM as "Women and adolescent girls using a clean menstrual management material to absorb or collect blood that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials". *
I would like to share my concern about this definition with you, as it is lacking the whole knowledge, attitudes and power systems part as well as it portrays MHM as a solely female issue.
Hence, I am looking to come up with a more encompassing and clever definition, so I would really appreciate if any of you have ideas / suggestions / comments.

Cheers,
Alice

* washdata.org/sites/default/files/documen...015-consultation.pdf (Page 16)

Alice Giulia Brandt
Junior Advisor
Sanitation for Millions

Department Climate, Environment and Infrastructure
Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
65726 Eschborn
Germany
T +49 6196 79 -2437
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  • muench
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Re: How do we define MHM? - Need a more encompassing and clever definition?

Dear Alice,

Please tell us more about your thinking here. Have you approached anyone at UNICEF or WHO to see if they are interested in having a dialogue on changing that definition? Or, instead of changing the definition, would it be wise(r) to coin a new term?

I've tried to have a similar discussion about Menstrual Hygiene Day, and whether it would be better to call it Menstrual Health Day. We didn't get very far with our discussion but please see here:
forum.susana.org/24-menstrual-hygiene-ma...cation-by-path#25236

I had written there in May:

Regarding the conversation we had two years ago about "menstrual health" as a potentially better, broader term than "menstrual hygiene", I just wanted to check what the current thinking about this is now? Are there any new publications that discuss the different terms?


Rachel had replied:

I completely agree that the word "health" is far better than the limiting word of "Hygiene". It would be great to see this change be accepted internationally as it truly draws in stakeholders from multiple disciplines to consider all the factors related to Menstruation and Menstrual Health


Regards,
Elisabeth

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Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • rsujatha
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Re: How do we define MHM? - Need a more encompassing and clever definition?

Hi
I think menstrual well being or menstrual health will be a better definition. Hygiene word makes it restricted to physical and physiological aspects whereas mental and emotional aspects are not covered. So maybe we can redefine the word to be holistic.
Rgds
Sujatha
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  • Alice
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Re: How do we define MHM? - Need a more encompassing and clever definition?

Hi Sujatha,

Thank you for your ideas. I agree, the term menstrual health is more encompassing than hygiene.
It highlights the nature of menstruation as a cross-cutting issue not solely restricted to sanitation and hygiene but to the woman's well being as a whole. I will put this argument forward in the upcoming working group meeting during the Stockholm World Water Week.

Best wishes,
Alice

Alice Giulia Brandt
Junior Advisor
Sanitation for Millions

Department Climate, Environment and Infrastructure
Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
65726 Eschborn
Germany
T +49 6196 79 -2437
E This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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