MatCH Research Unit (MRU), through PEPFAR’s DREAMS Innovation Challenge is undertaking a project aimed at empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) aged between 18-24 years in selected institutions of Further Education in three districts in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province.
The project aims to empower Adolescent Girls and Young Women by providing an alternate menstrual hygiene product – The Menstrual Cup – at no cost to AGYW attending Further Education institutions. Menstrual Cups are highly effective and environmentally friendly. Typically made of flexible medical-grade silicone, one cup can be used for 5 years at a fraction of the cost of disposable pads and sanitary towels. Additionally, AGYW will receive information and education on Sexual Reproductive Health and will be linked to appropriate health screening and prevention services.
Other study activities include individual interviews with female students who will be followed up by the study team for a period of one year and, Focus Group Discussions with students and parents as well as individual discussions with policy makers, health care providers and educators.
This DREAMS Innovation Challenge project is proudly aligned with the South African government’s “She Conquers Campaign”.
If you would like to learn more about the menstrual cup or our project, you can like or follow our Facebook page (Dreams MCup) or visit our interactive website at www.dreamsmcup.co.za
United States Department of State as part of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, managed by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI).
Dr Mags Beksinska
3 Districts in up to ten (10) FE institutions in Kwazulu Natal (Ethekwini, Umgungundlovu, Umkhanyakude)
Acceptability of Menstrual Cups in Female Sex Workers in Durban
This was a sub-study within the DIFFER project as part of the intervention to improve the range and quality of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services provided to Female Sex Workers (FSW) in the project catchment area. Menstrual cups were included in the ‘SRH packs’ along with other materials, condoms and pregnancy test kits. Some FSW participated in the mcup acceptability component and gave the project team regular feedback on use and experience with the device.
The European Union
Prof J Smit (MatCH Research)
MatCH Research Commercial City Site and Community in central Durban
University of Ghent – International Centre for Reproductive Health (UG-ICRH), Belgium, Ashodaya Samithi (Ashodaya), India, International Centre for Reproductive Health Association, Kenya (ICRH-K), International Centre for Reproductive Health Association Mozambique (ICRH-M), Lifeline, Durban, Sisonke, Durban
A Randomized Cross-Over Trial Evaluating the Performance and Acceptability of Menstrual Cups Compared to Tampons and Sanitary Pads
The menstrual cup (mcup) is an alternative to disposable sanitary towels and tampons which is gaining popularity in developed countries. It is a non-absorbent barrier cup that collects menstrual blood. Unlike tampons and pads, the mcup can be washed and is reusable. We completed a randomised cross-over trial in Durban KwaZulu-Natal comparing the acceptability and performance of the MPower mcup among 110 women compared to pads or tampons. Participants used each method over three menstrual cycles (total six months) and were interviewed monthly for 6 months. By comparison to the menstrual hygiene product used most often (sanitary pad or tampon), the mcup was rated better for comfort, quality, absorption, appearance, and preference. The study was disseminated and has published the results (publication #1, #2)
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI] via the University of Maryland