Menstrual Management Studies

Menstrual Cups for learners

In 2019, MRU worked with Community Media Trust (CMT) as part of their  ongoing SRH programme in High schools in  eThekwini and uMgungundlovu districts  to conduct menstrual cup education, training and distribution. Sessions were held with  learners participating in the  CMT girls groups. The aim of the project was to empower High School learners by providing comprehensive education around menstruation and use of menstrual cups.

A total of 1304 AGYW, including CMT mentors received menstrual cup training. The learners were in Grades 8 – 12, of which just over half, 704 (54%) accepted the menstrual cup.  There were 14 Schools in total in both districts: eThekwini and uMgungundlovu. EThekwini had the most demand with 10 schools (1078 trained, 609 distributed) and uMgungundlovu with 4 schools (226 trained, 95 distributed)

Funder/Sponsor: Community Media Trust (CMT)
Project Manager Dr Mags Beksinska
Site: eThekwini and  uMgungundlovu Districts

 

Menstrual Hygiene Managements in Schools

There is limited information on menstrual hygiene management in schools, or the effect of menstruation on school attendance in South Africa. In collaboration with the Department of Education MIET AFRICA is supporting  a 4-year school programme in three districts in three provinces  (Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal) in education around menstrual hygiene management.  MRU and MIET AFRICA  are working together to better understand learner’s knowledge and experience with menstruation at school and in the community.

Both quantitative and qualitative research is being conducted  with learners, educators and other key stakeholders. This research will provide baseline data to inform programme implementation. The study commenced in 2019.

Funder/Sponsor: UNICEF

Principal Investigator: Mags Beksinska

Site: KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Eastern Cape (EC), Gauteng Province (GP)

Year: 2019

DREAMS Menstrual Cup

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

Funder/Sponsor: United States Department of State as part of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge, managed by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI).
Principal Investigator: Dr Mags Beksinska
Site: 3 Districts in up to ten (10) FE institutions in Kwazulu Natal (Ethekwini, Umgungundlovu, Umkhanyakude)
Collaborators None

 

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.

Funder/Sponsor: The European Union
Principal Investigator: Prof J Smit (MatCH Research)
Site: MatCH Research Commercial City Site and Community  in central Durban
Collaborators 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

Completed Menstrual Management Projects

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)

Funder/Sponsors: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI] via the University of Maryland
Principal Investigators: Prof J Smit and Dr M Beksinska (MatCH Research)
Site: MatCH Research Commercial City Site