MHD 2020

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020

An estimated 1.8 billion girls, women, transgender men and non-binary persons of reproductive age experience menstruation throughout their lives, yet millions of menstruators across the world cannot manage their monthly cycle in a dignified, healthy way [1]. 

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is defined as ‘Women and adolescent girls are using a clean menstrual management material to absorb or collect menstrual blood, that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of a menstrual period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to safe and convenient facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials. They understand the basic facts linked to the menstrual cycle and how to manage it with dignity and without discomfort or fear [2].

There are multiple factors that lead to poor menstrual health and hygiene. The main driving factors that contribute to menstrual hygiene needs result unmet can be shortlisted as follows: 

  • Gender inequality
  • Discriminatory social norms
  • Cultural taboos
  • Poverty and lack of basic services and facilities

Consequences are severe: poor menstrual management is widely reported to be responsible for school absenteeism [3].

Even when attending school during menstruation, the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, lack of sanitation infrastructures such as private toilets and handwashing facilities, and lack of menstrual hygiene education can prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential in the classroom, in the workplace, and at home.

Every 28th of the 5th month of the year, it’s the time we come together to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) and advocate for the importance of good menstrual hygiene management for all. More specifically, MH Day:

  • Breaks the silence, raises awareness and changes negative social norms around MHM
  • Engages decision-makers to increase the political priority and catalyse action for MHM, at global, national and local levels.
  • Encourages individuals and organizations to take action to achieve universal access to good menstrual hygiene [4].

In IFMSA, we’re preparing a campaign for all of you to learn more about the matter and encourage you to develop initiatives that promote menstrual hygiene management in your communities through your Comprehensive Sexuality Education Programmes, through your peer education activities, educational interventions among many other – big or small – actions that make an impact in each of our communities. 

MH Day needs to be seen through a gender lens and an intersectional perspective: it is about equal opportunities and advocating for a future free from discrimination. 

This #MHDay2020 #ItsTimeForAction. Should you want to start up an initiative on this topic, feel free to contact [email protected] anytime.


[1] UNICEF (2020) Brief: Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 on menstrual health and hygiene. Available at

[2] WHO/UNICEF (2012) Consultation on draft long list of goal, target and indicator options for future global monitoring of water, sanitation and hygiene. Available at: reports/2017-06/JMP-2012-post2015-consultation.pdf   

[3] Sommer, Marni, Emily Vasquez, Nancy Worthington, Murat Sahin and Therese Dooley, WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education: Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2013, United Nations Children’s Fund and Columbia University, New York, 2014. 

 [4] 28th of May Menstrual Hygiene Day. Available at: 

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