Menstrual Health and COVID-19

Words By Rugare Shalom Zimunya

The year is 2020 and there is a global pandemic that is claiming thousands of lives. This has impacted the personal decision making of people across the globe. In recent weeks, we have witnessed a pattern of ‘panic buying’ as people predict that due to the world coming to a standstill, it may not be possible to attain a lot of the products we need for day to day use.
While most households are stocking up on non-perishable foods and toilet paper, people who menstruate have concerns beyond this. The fact is that despite the changes going on in the world including social distancing and lockdowns, periods are not going to be on lockdown and neither are they going to social distance from people who menstruate! They are still a reality and there is a dire need to explore ways to ensure that people who menstruate, do so with dignity, even in these times of a global pandemic.
At the same time, while a small percentage of people around the globe are able to stock up on sanitary supplies for their periods, majority of the population is not able to do so. In third world countries, we see the principles of economics at play. Those who live hand to mouth simply cannot afford to stock up on menstrual hygiene supplies.

This pandemic is a great time to consider reusable menstrual hygiene products such as cups and reusable pads. Currently, it is unclear how long the pandemic will last therefore investing in a sustainable product that ensures multiple usage over a period of one to three years is a wise idea. Both the menstrual cup and reusable pad can be washed in soapy hot water and rinsed out after use, allowing for months and years of reuse. Investing in these methods of collection would help ensure that one does not ‘run out’ of supplies in these times.

For those who have been able to stock up on disposable supplies for menstrual usage, remember to practice good hygiene by carefully wrapping the used product and disposing of it in bins. Vigilant hygiene is key, especially now.

Lastly, dealing with the other impacts of a pandemic, while in isolation can leave one feeling anxious and uncertain. It is completely normal and valid to feel this way. Good self-care in these times is a good way to ensure that you’re not only taking care of your physical menstrual health needs, but your mental well-being as well!