Although menstrual health (MH) is increasingly seen as a fundamental need within the global sexual and reproductive health (SRH) agenda, over 500 million menstruators across the world still cannot access the safe, quality, and affordable products they need to manage their menstruation. There is limited funding for menstrual health, and although efforts to address key challenges have been deployed, none have successfully transformed the prospects for product access at scale.
Unlike most other SRH products, the MH market in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Asia is driven primarily by consumer purchases, with limited bulk procurement by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, and/or donors. The commercial market for MH products offers significant potential to expand and adapt to meet the growing needs of menstruators, particularly for populations at the last mile. Key stakeholders, including donors, governments, and advocates, need more information to understand the constraints that affect the MH market along the supply chain – from product manufacturing, though importation and distribution, to access. We also need to identify key business models that dominate the MH market, and the comparative advantages and relative effectiveness of specific MH interventions, to better understand how to target recommendations and subsidies that can facilitate further growth of the market.
The purpose of this report is to summarize findings on the key constraints to and opportunities for MH product access, and to outline recommendations for donors, governments, and other actors within the market. The MH Market Intervention Framework, found in Section VIII, provides these key stakeholders with an MH market maturity rapid assessment tool (see Annex 1), and a way to select and prioritize recommendations for a country given its relative market maturity, the market functions being addressed, and the actors in the supply chain that the recommendation would be most relevant to.