Pandemics don’t stop periods

Picture this, you’ve just started your period, yet, you choose to buy hand sanitiser instead of sanitary towels because a week of personal discomfort and stained clothing seems secondary to preventing potential infection of COVID-19. No one should be making these types of decisions in the 21st century, but this is the harsh reality for many of those who bleed every month across parts of East Asia and Africa.

The global health crisis has strained access to essential sexual and reproductive health information as community leaders and local services have turned their attention to the pandemic.

According to Plan International, even before the pandemic, many women and girls from developing countries already struggled to reach vital resources like family-planning centres and education about gender-based violence.

Now, due to the devastating impact of COVID-19, their personal concerns, reproductive rights and safety are at risk of being overshadowed.

Discussions surrounding menstruation and sexual freedom (predominantly for women) remain largely taboo in many local communities across the globe. The stigmas attached to menstruation, compounded by the socio-political effect of the pandemic, further push the needs of women and girls under the rug, jeopardising their rights to live a healthy, fulfilled life. 

The world is a better place when we are all empowered in everything we do. Empowering those who bleed to take charge of their own bodies in societies where they still do not have authority at a familial, local nor national level is the first step towards change. In order to achieve this, they need support and guidance from reliable services who are invested in promoting and protecting the rights of the disadvantaged.

Photo: Sightsavers

Simavi empowers women in East Asia and Africa to pursue the right to a healthy life, focusing on access to hygiene, sanitation and sexual and reproductive education. They believe every girl and woman deserves to make their own decisions when it comes to their bodies. Through their services, Simavi ensures women and girls feel empowered in their choices. They are currently implementing pandemic-related measures to further support those in need. If you would like to support Simavi’s mission, you can donate directly to them below. 

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