Menstruation mat­ters to everyone, everywhere. This is the unapologetic theme of this year’s globally cel­ebrated menstrual hygiene Day. Social taboos, nega­tive norm and embarrass­ment mean that menstrua­tion is too often not given the attention it deserves. This is true despite the fact that half of the world menstruates. Additionally menstrual hygiene has important implications for women’s participa­tion in education and the economy as well as for the environment that we all share ( for example it is estimated that the average North American will have to dispose of nearly 13,000 tampons and pads in her lifetime).

In order to help break the silence around this im­portant issue the Bhutan Nuns Foundation organ­ized a community event at Pema Choling Nunnery in Tang, Bumthang yester­day. The event which had support from SNV and PHED (Public Health and Engineering Division) un­der the Ministry of Health through the Australian Aid funding included a keynote address by the Dzongkhag Health Officer , a lively debate between two teams of nuns, as well as the launch of a programme encouraging the manufac­turing and use of reusable sanitary napkins.

Nunneries and com­munities located in closer proximity to the capital are often the target for large scale public health and environmental intervention; this makes Pema Choling, located in rural Bumthang and home to some of the most well educated nuns in the country, an ideal site for this kind of event. Nuns also have the potential to be­come important communi­ty-based sources of accurate and positive information about menstrual health.

Bhutan Nun Foundation’s role was to co-ordinate between the donors and nunneries, a role that they have successfully filled many times in the past. They hope not only to bring this important information to nuns and the community at large but also that they can use this experience to plan future health and educational for both lay and religious communities throughout the country.

Courtesy: Bhutan Times