On World Menstrual Health Day, worsening humanitarian crisis severely affects girls in Haiti – Haiti


Port-au-Prince, 26 May 2023 – On International Menstrual Health Day, Plan International is highlighting the often overlooked impacts of the global humanitarian crisis on women and girls.

In Haiti, where widespread hunger and gang violence have led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, many girls and women cannot afford basic menstrual hygiene products such as sanitary pads amid of soaring food prices.

Daphne de Bordes, acting director of Plan International Haiti, says the crisis in the country is making girls and women increasingly vulnerable.

“In Haiti, widespread hunger and the escalation of violence by armed groups are having a devastating impact on the population, especially on girls. During the crisis, girls face perilous journeys to access clean water and good menstrual hygiene, and lack the family income to buy menstruation. health supplies. Menstrual health cannot be overlooked,” says de Bordes.

Worldwide, at least 500 million girls and women – about one in four women of reproductive age – do not have access to what they need to manage their periods, whether sanitary pads and/or clean toilets.

As the world is mired in the most devastating hunger crisis in history – at least 345 million people in 82 countries are acutely food insecure and 50 million are on the brink of starvation – the girls continue to be the most affected.

For 13-year-old Sofiana, who lives in the Southeast department of Haiti, the hunger crisis has made managing her period increasingly difficult. “I sometimes find it difficult to buy sanitary napkins because I don’t have enough money,” she says.

Many girls in Haiti face daily challenges in managing their periods with dignity, such as having to make long and dangerous journeys to access clean water. “It is very difficult to get water in this area. The stream is very far and it can take us about an hour to reach it on foot,” explains Sofiana.

Without menstrual health information and support services, many girls face shame and embarrassment at school and at home because of their periods. This results in many girls missing school each month when they have their period, causing them to fall behind in their education and in many cases even drop out of school.

Sofiana says she has turned to different alternatives to manage her period health. “I don’t feel comfortable when I have my period,” she says. “When I can’t afford supplies, I wear old clothes instead.”

When girls do not have basic supplies like sanitary pads, they are often forced to use unhygienic materials like old newspapers, rags, dirt, sand, ashes, grass or leaves. These are uncomfortable and can cause infections. The dangers multiply when drinking water is scarce, which makes washing difficult.

As the world is mired in the most devastating hunger crisis in history – at least 345 million people in 82 countries are acutely food insecure and 50 million are on the brink of starvation – the girls continue to be the most affected.

Evidence shows that in the world’s worst hunger hotspots, menstrual health falls lower on the priority list. Plan International is present in these territories to scale up support for girls and their families.

Since the start of the response to the hunger crisis in Haiti, Plan International has delivered more than 1,000 hygiene kits to households, including sanitary towels, soap, water purification tablets and other items. .

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that hunger, health and security are part of the overall crisis in Haiti, menstrual health is also a priority. We believe that all girls and women should enjoy their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and that none of their well-being should be limited by their periods,” de Bordes explains.

For more information, case studies or interviews, please contact:

Horace Garcète
Regional Communications Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +595974 634513

About Plan International

Plan International is an independent humanitarian and development organization advancing children’s rights and equality for girls.

We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often stifled by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it is the girls who are the most affected. Working with children, young people, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world, addressing the root causes of the challenges faced by girls and all vulnerable children.

We support the rights of children from birth until they reach adulthood. And we empower children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive change in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge.

We’ve been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and are now active in over 80 countries.

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