IN MYANMAR, REUSABLE PANTIES AGAINST MENSTRUAL INSECURITY
In a country plunged into a severe economic crisis and where the price of basic products has increased, buying sanitary protection has become very expensive. Première Urgence Internationale has distributed dozens of reusable menstrual panties to address this menstrual insecurity.
FEMPO distribution in Yangon Clinic I © Première Urgence Internationale
Since the military coup of February 2021, having access to sanitary protection has become difficult for Myanmar women, due to the economic crisis that has hit the country. Loss of income, collapse of the national currency, sharp rise in prices… According to the UN, nearly 14 million people, or a quarter of the population of Myanmar, are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. The rise in fuel prices has also worsened the country’s economic situation. As a result, sanitary protection is increasingly out of reach for Myanmar women.
Distribution of reusable panties and health education activties
To reduce the economic burden on many women and provide them with quality health services, we organized a distribution of reusable menstrual panties last May. Medical teams from Première Urgence Internationale received the most vulnerable women in their clinics in the south of Yangon, the economic capital. They shared information with them on the use of FEMPO panties, our partner, and on menstrual hygiene. Each woman received three pairs as part of health education and knowledge sharing activities on reproductive health and menstruation during World Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28 May. “I have three daughters and one of them is bedridden because of a chronic illness, so I came to hear about women’s health because I have to take care of the menstrual protection of each of them”, explains Daw Mya Aye who came to this distribution.
Menstrual hygiene information session in Yangon Clinic I © Première Urgence Internationale
Significant cost savings for Myanmar women
In addition to the considerable cost savings for women and the environmental benefits, these women are less likely to have intimate infections. “We used to use cotton tampons every month and we had never seen panties like this before,” says the 45 years old woman. Tampons come at a cost: about US$15 per woman, or about 13% of the average monthly income in Myanmar. “Menstrual panties save money because they are washable and reusable,” says Daw Mya Aye.
FEMPO is working alongside Première Urgence Internationale to combat menstrual insecurity. Between 2021 and 2022, more than 14,000 menstrual pants will be distributed to women in precarious situations who do not have access to sanitary protection in France, Mali and Myanmar.
Find out more about our activities in Myanmar here