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Global Research Update #36

Sommer et al., 2021: Menstrual hygiene management in schools: midway progress update on the “MHM in Ten”2014–2024 global agenda. A global desk review was done from April to June 2019 to assess progress and gaps across the 5 priority areas of ten-year agenda 2014-2024, referred to as Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Ten (MHM in Ten). Results: The review indicates that for priority (1), the evidence base for MHM in schools has strengthened considerably; for priority (2) global guidelines for MHM in schools have yet to be created; for priority (3) numerous evidence-based advocacy platforms have emerged to support MHM efforts; for priority (4) a growing engagement, responsibility, and ownership of MHM in schools amongst governments globally, and for priority (5) although MHM is beginning to be integrated into country-level education systems, resources are lacking. Multiple recommendations are suggested including (1) To provide support for learning from implementation of government programmes and policies to share across country governments; (2) To conduct longitudinal research to measure relevant impact and outcomes; (3) To improve investment in the evidence base for addressing MHM in schools, particularly research targeting the most underserved; and (4) To better understand costs and effectiveness, and the benefits of comprehensive, cross-sectoral approaches.

Critchley et al., 2021: Menstruation should not be overlooked in control of anaemia. The 2020 World Health Organisation report on global reduction efforts for anaemia in women of reproductive age (15-49 years) indicates that in most countries the prevalence of anaemia in women of reproductive age has increased and, even in countries where there has been some reduction, no country is on target for a 50% reduction by 2025. To date, global health efforts to reduce anaemia focus largely on nutrition. Menstruators with anaemia and debilitating heavy menstrual bleeding might be more motivated to comply with effective treatments for heavy bleeding than with dietary interventions for anaemia. The contribution of menstruation and heavy menstrual bleeding to iron deficiency and anaemia deserves wide recognition by people who menstruate, their families, employers, and society. Menstruation can no longer be a taboo topic.

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