Zimbabwe: An Urban Assessment of Menstrual Health & Hygiene Management in Zimbabwe

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Kunashe Foundation conducted a Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) survey to which 500+ women responded. The purpose of the MHHM survey was to investigate the challenges women face with menstrual health in a context where period poverty is of increased concern. This survey targeted women who reside in urban areas within Zimbabwe. Government policy papers, international organizations, and local non-‐governmental organizations have researched and reported on the experience of women residing in peri-‐urban and rural Zimbabwe concerning menstrual health management. While there certainly is a great need for intervention in these areas due to limited levels of development, we believe that there is also room for intervention in urban areas as identified by the results of this survey. The following represent some of the key findings:

Demographics: the survey was answered by a high youth population between the ages of 22 to 35. These made up 73.5% of respondents. Further to this, the majority of the women who responded (up to 46.5%) are formally employed.

Overall Menstrual Experience: 61.8% of women who took part in the survey indicated that they experience a regular period which ranges between 2 to 5 days long.

Sanitary Wear: 83% of women indicated that they make use of disposable sanitary pads while 12% use tampons. While these are the most sustainable, the least favoured sanitary product was the menstrual cup, followed by the reusable pad with most respondents indicating a lack of understanding or knowledge on use of these.

Biological Menstrual Health Challenges: 493 of the women indicated that they experience pain during their menstrual cycle. The pain ratings were on a scale of 1 to 5 and over 67% of the women rated their pain as level 3 and above.

External factors affecting menstruation: According to the survey, 40.7% of women indicated that they faced inadequate access to a private disposal bin while 34.6% indicated that the main challenge they faced was inadequate access to menstrual health information. In addition, 24.6% of these urban women indicated challenges with access to clean running water and lastly, 13.7% indicated a lack of access to adequate sanitary wear.

Overall, in line with key findings, Kunashe Foundation proposes increased interventions for women primarily in the form of increased menstrual health information, support with pain management and access to better private sanitary disposal tools.

Read the full report here (6MB PDF)

Source: Kunashe Foundation

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