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Research Paper 2 – The case for collecting data on menstruation in South Africa

Key Takeaways

  • Decent menstrual health and hygiene is fundamental to ensuring the right to dignity, equality, health and education. The South African Constitution enshrines these rights.
  • International data on menstruation largely provides information on at least the following four topics:
    • Awareness of menstruation before menarche
    • Private place to wash and change
    • Participation in activities during menstruation
    • Use of menstrual materials
  • South Africa does not collect national data on any of these topics:
    • None of the national surveys conducted by Statistics South Africa ask any questions that directly relate to menstruation.
    • A nationally representative survey that incidentally collected data related to menstruation is the 2016 All Media and Products Survey conducted by the South African Audience Research Foundation. The questions it asks provide limited insight into menstruation and the barriers to menstrual health and hygiene.
    • Several small studies have been conducted. However, they do not provide a nationally representative understanding of menstrual health and hygiene in South Africa.
  • Questions that relate to menstrual health and hygiene should be included in the General Household Survey conducted annually by Statistics South Africa.

A new panel study should be conducted, with questions that relate to menstrual health and hygiene included.

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