Intended for healthcare professionals


Menstrual health for all requires wider high level commitment

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: (Published 20 September 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o2222
  1. Jennifer Martin, global director,
  2. Karan Babbar, research adviser,
  3. Ursula Maschette, Brazil correspondent
  1. 1Pandemic Periods
  2. 2Jindal Global Business School, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India
  3. 3Pandemic Periods, UMa Institute, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to: J Martin Jenni{at}

Access to affordable period products is not nearly enough

In August 2022, the Scottish government declared that local authorities must provide access to free period products such as menstrual pads and tampons through their facilities.1 Globally, the menstrual health movement has achieved considerable milestones over the past two years, including the first panel discussion on menstrual health at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council and the publication of the consensus definition of menstrual health in 2021.2 These achievements are a result of over 20 years of activism and political action, beginning in 2004 when the government of Kenya committed to removing the sales tax on period pads.3

Over the past two decades, menstrual health campaigns have mobilised support among grassroots advocates and the media to challenge dominant narratives that perpetuate menstrual stigma, bringing the conversation to global stages and gatherings. Such public and visible activism have helped establish commitments by governments and multilateral agencies to uphold the rights of women, adolescent girls, and people who menstruate to menstrual health.4

Menstrual health refers to “a state of …

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