Nairobi Innovation Week 2018: Menstrual Health as a Public Health Issue

Did you know that in the lifetime of a woman, she will use hundreds of thousands of shillings on menstrual health products and will dispose of over 18,000 pads and tampons? This becomes an even tougher situation for girls and women in areas like Sub-Saharan Africa where as many as one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa are missing school during their menstruation cycle due to lack of access to the products they need.

 

Kenyan-Collective-NIW-2018-Menstrual-Health

Over half the population of the world (that’s 3.8 billion people today) menstruate for around 4 days every month, every year, for the majority of their lifetime. This makes menstruation one of the most globally shared experiences and health issues of our time.

But why is it that we’re still facing challenges like how many girls are forced to have sex to afford pads, how many are forced to make homemade pads out of rags and pieces of mattresses and why there’s still little education and strong taboos around menstruation that make it hard for women to access (and for societies to provide) appropriate products and sanitation.

We Need To Change Our Mentality

The truth of the matter is periods are healthy, normal and serve a vital function when it comes to reproduction. In short, you and I wouldn’t be here without them!

Which is why we need to change the way we address this issue. For example, we all know that menstrual blood is red, why is it that most period product commercials still use blue liquid instead of red? Is the idea of menstrual blood is shameful? 🤔

Also, periods are not about dancing around in school. We need to tell the real story of menstrual health. How we can teach our girls about reproductive health, what’s happening to their bodies and how they can go through that ‘time of the month’ without shame.

Menstrual Cups: The Future of Period Care

We’ve heard of the idea of menstrual cups but what exactly are they and how exactly is a woman supposed to walk with a tiny cup between her legs? 😮

Kenyan-Collective-NIW-2018-Menstrual-Cup

Well, the menstrual cup is a soft, silicone cup that sits inside the vagina and collects menstrual blood. It’s reusable and lasts for years which means you don’t have to worry about getting hold of more products and, unlike more traditional commercial products such as cotton pads and tampons, creates no disposable waste.

When inserted correctly, the menstrual cup provides up to 12 hours of leak-free use and discreet, hygienic protection in a way that is healthier for your body.

For women all over the world this is no less than a game changer.

In a recent survey by Lunette, 88% of women in Germany reported having a better quality of life during menstruation because of the Lunette Menstrual Cup.

Lunette is also thrilled to be part of Nairobi Innovation Week and to be hosting a full day workshop on “Innovations for public health” to be attended by 30 male and female students on the 6th of March.

The workshop is co-organized in partnership with PATH and the Embassy of Finland in Kenya and includes discussions and Q & A sessions led by experienced facilitators from PATH. The workshop offers an opportunity to brainstorm and present business ideas the best of which may be considered for funding!

If you’re passionate about entrepreneurship and interested in learning more about how public health, menstrual equity and facilitating more innovative entrepreneurship in this industry are so important, then be sure to apply.

Both men and women are welcome to take part; to really change things for women, it must be a joint effort by both genders.

Deadline for applications is 13th February! Be sure to get your applications in early for the best chance of attending!

Click the link below and follow the instructions to submit your application:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/L8CWTJ2

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