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What is the scope for addressing menstrual hygiene management in complex humanitarian emergencies? A global review

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Global attention on improving the integration of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) into humanitarian response is growing. However, there continues to be a lack of consensus on how best to approach MHM inclusion within response activities. This global review assessed the landscape of MHM practice, policy, and research within the field of humanitarian response. This included an analysis of the limited existing documentation and research on MHM in emergencies and global key informant interviews (n=29) conducted with humanitarian actors from relevant sectors (water, sanitation, and hygiene; women’s protection; child protection; health; education; non-food items; camp management). The findings indicate that despite a growing dialogue around MHM in emergencies, there remains a lack of clarity on the key components for a complete MHM response, the responsible sectoral actors to implement MHM activities, and the most effective interventions to adapt in emergency contexts, and insufficient guidance on monitoring and evaluation. There is a critical need for improved technical guidance and documentation on how to integrate MHM into existing programming and monitoring systems and to ensure adequate coordination and communication about MHM across relevant sectors. There is also a need for improved evidence on effective MHM approaches, the development of MHM-specific indicators, improved consultation with girls and women in crisis-afflicted areas, and the documentation of practical learning. It is only through improving the resources available and enhancing this evidence base that MHM can be perceived as an integral and routine component of any humanitarian response.

Waterlines article by Marni Sommer, Margaret L. Schmitt,David Clatworthy, Gina Bramucci, Erin Wheeler and Ruwan Ratnayake, July 205th 2016

Date: 22 May 2017