Integrated approaches to menstrual health in Asia and the Pacific

Madelena,15, inside the new toilet block in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

By normalizing discussions among women, men and young people on reproduction, menstruation, hygiene and sexual and reproductive health, both sectors can contribute to raising the profile of menstrual health as an important issue for women and girls, and contribute to shifting cultural norms, gender attitudes and addressing taboos.

The intersection between menstrual health, and sexual and reproductive health is often overlooked in current development efforts across Asia and the Pacific.

This paper explores the commonalities and gaps between the two sectors, and makes practical recommendations for bringing action closer together, to improve women and girls’ education, health and social outcomes. The paper aims to highlight how good menstrual health (MH) requires holistic solutions, which address both water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and reproductive health services, as well as how menstrual health is an entry point for improved sexual and reproductive health services and rights (SRHR).

While we recognize that other actors are addressing menstrual health (e.g. education, humanitarian response and gender) and are critical to solutions, this paper focuses predominantly on the role that WASH and SRHR actors can play.