Terms of reference
“Review govt. policies, strategies and programs in relation to MHM Interventions”

About the Assignment

A woman spends seven years of her life menstruating, making menstruation a natural and essential part of the reproductive cycle and thus of women’s health and well-being. Menstruation is a highly relevant theme as it is directly linked with health, hygiene, socio-economic participation and education of women. The proper management of menstruation thus significantly influences gender equality. With that being said, Article 19(3) of the Constitution of Bangladesh positively obliges the State to ensure equal opportunities and participation for women in every sphere of national life. In reality though, 41% of the school going girls in Bangladesh do not attend classes during their menstruation and 73% women miss their work for an average 6 days a month for infection caused by unhygienic menstrual management. According to Bangladesh National Hygiene Baseline Survey 2014, 86% of the surveyed households were found using old cloths during their menstruation and among these women a large number does not use soap for cleaning of those cloths and often dry in hidden places. On the other hand, only 6% of the surveyed girls receive any MH related education at school and 64% of the girls said they never heard of menstruation before menarche. 40% girls don’t attend school during their menstruation and among the remaining 32% doesn’t use the school toilet during their menstruation. On top of this, cultural believes and social norms around menstruation restrict the participation of women and girls in society during menstruation. In addition, limited access to clean water, proper sanitation facilities and sanitary products make it difficult for women to manage their menstruation hygienically. As a result, many (young) women in Bangladesh face considerable physical and social challenges during their menstruation period. This has a severe impact on their health, well-being, and the realisation of their rights. With that being said, although women are by law entitled to equal opportunities and participation in society, in practice they are often excluded to live up to their full potential especially during menstruation. A lack of commitment at decision making level, lack of MH infrastructure at public & private spaces, insufficient allocation of resources & efforts, gaps between policy & practices and a lack of proper information and knowledge about menstruation among the masses are the major contributors, responsible for depriving women from accessing their basic rights and exposing them to severe health risks.

The purpose of the assignment is to identify all the national policies (e.g. National Health Policy, National Education Policy etc.), strategies (e.g. National Strategy for Adolescent Health 2017-30, National Hygiene Promotion Strategy etc.)  and programs (potentially or directly) related with Menstrual Health including Hygiene.

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Deadline: 14 July 2019