Bangladesh’s prevention and response plan for COVID-19 did not consider how women and girls would manage their periods safely and privately under a nation-wide lockdown. During the first month of lockdown, WaterAid Bangladesh undertook a study to understand how women and girls were managing their periods. Thirty women aged 15-45 were interviewed including Readymade Garment workers, low and middle income community members, rural community health clinic workers, and students. In addition, 14 pharmacy shopkeepers were interviewed to understand the impact on supply and sales of menstrual hygiene products during the lockdown.
Who might find this resource useful and why?
Who: Menstrual Hygiene and Health (MHH) stakeholders, WASH programme managers, gender advisors, implementing partners, researchers, WASH in Schools stakeholders, policy makers, WASH Cluster and humanitarian stakeholders and private sector.
Why: In many humanitarian emergencies, basic materials and appropriate sanitation facilities (including water) to manage menstruation may be unavailable. Furthermore, privacy in emergencies can be a challenge, and public toilets may be available or lack locks, functioning doors, lighting and separation between genders. Cultural beliefs and taboos surrounding menstruation can restrict the movement and behaviour of girls and women. The study shares learning on the necessity to ensure the continuity of essential MHH supplies and services in prevention and response planning for future emergencies such as the COVID-19.