On World Menstrual Health Day, the humanitarian crisis worsens, severely impacting girls in Haiti – Haiti


Port-au-Prince, May 26, 2023 – On International Menstrual Health Day, Plan International highlights the often forgotten impact of the global humanitarian crisis on women and girls.

In Haiti, where widespread hunger and gang violence have fueled an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, soaring food prices make many girls and women unable to afford basic menstrual hygiene products like sanitary napkins.

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 escalating violence by armed groups are having a devastating impact on the population, especially girls. During the crisis, girls have to travel dangerous distances to access safe water and proper menstrual hygiene, and they lack the family income to buy menstrual sets.” Health care. Menstrual health must not be neglected,” says de Bordes.

Globally, at least 500 million girls and women – roughly one in four women of childbearing age – do not have access to what they need to manage their periods, be it sanitary napkins and/or clean toilets.

As the world grapples with 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 verge of starvation – girls remain the worst hit.

For 13-year-old Sofiana, who lives in Hait’s southeast department, the hunger crisis has made it increasingly difficult to cope with her period. “Sometimes I have a hard time buying sanitary napkins because I don’t have enough money,” she says.

Many girls in Haiti face daily difficulties in managing their menstrual periods with dignity, for example, they have to travel long and dangerous distances to get clean water. “It is very difficult to get water in this area. The creek is very far away and it can take us about an hour to walk to it,” says Sofiana.

In the absence of menstrual health information and support services, many girls face shame and embarrassment about their periods at school and at home. This causes many girls to miss school every month during their menstrual period, causing them to fall behind in their education and in many cases even drop out of school.

Sofiana says she’s turned to various alternatives to get a handle on her menstrual health. “I don’t feel good when I have my period,” she says. “When I can’t afford to buy supplies, I wear old clothes instead.”

When girls do not have basic supplies such as menstrual pads, they are often forced to use unsanitary materials such as old newspapers, rags, dirt, sand, ash, grass or leaves. These are uncomfortable and can cause infections. The dangers are multiplied when clean water is scarce and washing is made more difficult.

As the world grapples with 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 verge of starvation – girls remain the worst hit.

There is evidence that menstrual health is lower on the list of priorities in the world’s biggest hunger pangs. Plan International is increasing support for girls and their families in these areas.

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

“We must not lose sight of the fact that hunger, health and safety are part of the overall crisis in Haiti and that menstrual health is also a priority. We believe that all girls and women should enjoy their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and they shouldn’t.” “Well-being should be limited by periods,” says de Bordes.

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

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

About Plan International

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

We believe in the power and potential of every child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it’s girls who are hit hardest. Together with children, youth, our supporters and partners, we strive for a just world and tackle the root causes of the challenges girls and all vulnerable children face.

We support the rights of children from birth to adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for and respond to crises and adversities. With our reach, experience and knowledge, we drive change in practice and policy at local, national and global levels.

We have been building powerful partnerships for children for over 80 years and are now active in more than 80 countries.


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