Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Cambodia will launch a campaign to distribute five million sanitary pads to women and girls in need to keep them healthy and in school as the organisation celebrates Menstrual Hygiene Day from May 25-28.
This year, the event will be marked under the theme A Necessity, Not a Luxury.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is observed worldwide on May 28 and was first launched by advocates in 2014 to highlight the importance of menstrual hygiene management education that empowers girls to fully participate in society and live a healthy, self-determined life.
“AHF country teams around the world have exciting and informative virtual and in-person [where possible] ‘A Necessity, Not a Luxury!’ commemorative Menstrual Hygiene Day events planned for 2021,” AHF said in a press release obtained by The Post on May 23.
The press release said poor menstrual hygiene management restricts the mobility, freedom and choices of young women and girls everywhere. It affects attendance and participation in school and community life and further compromises their safety, causing stress and anxiety.
AHF Cambodia country programme manager Houy Sikheng could not be reached for comment on May 23.
However, Sikheng said in the press release that the menstrual hygiene problem weakens the health of young girls caused by a lack of education on the issue, persisting taboos and stigma, and limited access to hygienic menstrual products.
“Breaking the silence, raising awareness and changing negative social norms is more important now than ever before” she said.
According to the press release, AHF is launching this campaign to help combat the stigma that still exists today, and because many women and girls can’t afford sanitary pads or have inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products.
“The pads are also critical for girls’ education since they can miss 20 per cent or more of each school year due to their menstrual cycle – widening the already vast, unequal education gap between girls and their male counterparts,” it said.