Zonta Club of Chittagona spreads menstral health awareness on United Nations Day

Aware of how climate change affects women's health, the Zonta Club of Chittagong, Bangladesh, celebrated United Nations Day with the students of Chittagong Government Women's College by organizing an advocacy and awareness program on menstrual health.

The club invited Dr. Mukta Chowdhury to speak to the students about menstrual health and how it affects women's and girls' health. She also talked about how Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and is more likely to suffer worse in the future than any other country in South Asia. While climate change impacts all genders, girls and women face heightened vulnerability affected by poor facilities and access to other infrastructures. The UN has found Bangladesh among Asia's five most hazard-prone countries. All these impacts of climate change not only affect Bangladesh's economic and social aspects but also seriously makes the women and children vulnerable in terms of sexual and reproductive health and rights aspects. She also highlighted that access to safe and dignified menstruation is a fundamental need for women and girls. A growing evidence base from the country shows that many girls cannot manage their menstrual health and associated hygiene with ease and dignity. These girls and women cannot practice good menstrual health and hygiene at home, school, college, work or other public settings due to discriminatory social environments, inaccurate information, poor facilities and limited choice of absorbent materials.

Maintaining menstrual hygiene is difficult in Bangladesh, where people often do not even utter its name because of the associated stigma and taboo. Menstrual myths have a long history in a country like Bangladesh, but small changes are taking place to help break the taboo and create awareness about the need for hygiene for girls and women.

Such unhygienic practices can cause serious health issues and even death. When menstrual health is still taboo in Bangladesh, very few people think of helping women by providing sanitary napkins during their periods, and it is beyond expectation.

To break this taboo and make them aware of their health, the club distributed more than one hundred packets of sanitary napkins and leaflets for the students attending the event.