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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Columbia: Hosts Meeting in Geneva for Monitoring Menstrual Hygiene Management

The global menstrual hygiene management (MHM) movement has made tremendous progress towards improving practice, policy and evidence generation in low and middle-income countries. This includes significant attention towards addressing the menstrual needs of girls growing up in these contexts, such as access to supportive facilities, appropriate menstrual materials, and information.

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, with support from the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, brought together key global MHM experts in Geneva for a three-day working meeting in March. Organized by associate professor Dr. Marni Sommer, a global menstruation expert, the program focused on identifying and prioritizing measures for more effectively monitoring MHM progress. Participants included cross-sectoral global monitoring experts from academia, national governments, United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“There is a growing need for standardized measures with which programs and governments can assess and monitor outcomes and progress,” said Dr. Sommer. “While a wealth of qualitative data exists, there is a lack of quantitative data, and without a broad range of validated measures enabling assessment across relevant priority areas, the field cannot fully assess the public health implications of MHM, or adequately track progress.”

Through plenary and breakout sessions, participants engaged on five priority areas –education; gender; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); health; and psychosocial — reviewed current assessment methods, and analyzed areas of alignment and synergy across priority areas.

The group mapped out future opportunities for advancing the MHM measures agenda. A white paper summarizing the discussions and recommendations for advancing MHM is underway.