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“Periods in Pandemic”- How Coronavirus Lockdown is Affecting Menstruation in Women?

The current coronavirus pandemic has put a partial to complete lockdown in major parts of the world. The international borders are closed, trade is affected, local businesses are shuttered, the effects of this coronavirus pandemic are far-reaching on everyone especially menstruating women. It has just added up to their problems and challenges, which is why this World Menstruation Hygiene Day highlights the significance of menstruating awareness worldwide.

Every year, the date 28th May is celebrated as World Menstrual Hygiene Day. On this day, various women-centered, or human rights centered organizations, governmental agencies, non-governmental agencies, and private bodies organize awareness campaigns on good menstrual hygiene.

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This year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day theme is set as “Periods in Pandemic”. The reason for choosing this theme was to signify the problems and issues that women face are facing during their mensuration cycle in this coronavirus pandemic.

UNICEF has shared a tweet saying that “Periods don’t stop for pandemics — it’s every girl’s right to manage her period safely and with dignity. #MenstruationMatters #MHDay2020 (sic).”

It initiates some of the most ignored facts related to mensuration. This World Menstrual Hygiene Day, these issues are being coined to raise awareness and public acceptance on periods. Some of these concerns are;

Mensuration is not a choice. It is a natural process just like other body functions that are considered ‘normal’ by people. There is no way that women can stop their bodies to menstruate. Instead, it is healthy and shows that a woman is in her best of health. The social and religious taboos related to menstruation should be no more a part of modern culture and hence people should accept it as a normal thing.

All mensuration supplies are limited and during this coronavirus pandemic, not every woman is able to access them. These supplies include products like sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual cups, reusable sanitary towels, pain relief medicines, intimate wash, and other specialized things. It is not an individual but administrative duty to make sure that all these supplies are in stock. So that no woman is left without them. Again, it’s not a matter of choice, it is a basic hygiene necessity.

Unicef has reported that it is hard for people to get their hands-on menstrual hygiene products during this lockdown. The local bodies should ensure the availability of these products for everyone who needs them. It also includes health workers who need these supplies. This should not be ignored that nearly 70% of healthcare workers in the US are women who need specialized care as well.

While making policies on pandemic management, the availability of menstrual products is probably an ignored point which is a basic necessity. Not just for ordinary people but the frontline workers should also have easy access to menstrual hygiene products during this world menstruation hygiene day along with other personal protective equipment.

The social factors such as ‘poverty’ remains a problem even during the coronavirus pandemic when the ‘developed’ countries are facing supply shortage. On the other side, the under-developing countries are at the biggest risk for gynecological problems. people who are barely living hand to mouth cannot access these menstrual hygiene products and for them, it is not just the ‘basic necessity’ but a luxury.

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Coronavirus is a global health threat but for women who are living in a society with taboos, traditions, and gender inequalities, the deprivation of these menstruation supplies is common. In addition to this, they prefer eatables over the menstrual hygiene products as the stigma on menstrual health continues to increase during this coronavirus pandemic.

This World Menstrual Hygiene Day invites people from all parts of the world to join hands and educate people on mensuration and its significance. It is time to dispel all the rumors and spread medically accurate information on mensural health.

 

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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