Menstruation and diarrhea: Taboo topics that matter

May 28, 2014


Hope Randall
Communications Officer, DefeatDD


May 28th is Menstrual Hygiene Day! Though my excitement has occasionally been met with raised eyebrows and puzzled expressions, I couldn't be more thrilled for the global attention to this crucial yet neglected issue.


You see, like diarrhea, menstruation is a taboo topic: a fact which works against the awareness needed to address their associated health risks. We make significant sacrifices for the sake of polite conversation.  


But the similarities don't end there. During my time at PATH, my passion for the rights of women and girls has led me to proactively seek out its seemingly unlikely connections to diarrheal disease advocacy. I've learned that while diarrhea indiscriminately kills boys and girls alike, girls stand far more to gain from access to hygiene and sanitation. The water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions that protect children from diarrheal disease also help to ensure that girls can stay in school during their menstrual cycles.


AfriCare's WASH in schools program provides just one example of the basic tools that should be available everywhere. Until then, you can do your part to raise awareness by joining the conversation at #MenstruationMatters and #MHDay2017.


Photo credit: PATH.