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Video: Breaking menstruation taboo in Madagascar

FRANCE 24 screengrab | Learning to make DIY sanitary pads in Madagascar.

Menstruation has become a “global health crisis” where cultural taboos and a lack of education force girls and women to suffer their periods in pain and isolation. FRANCE 24 reports from Madagascar.


In Madagascar, menstruation is considered a shameful and dirty subject, leaving millions of women unaware of what is happening to them, or how to manage their periods efficiently and hygienically.

"A young Malagasy girl is always isolated during her menstrual period because it is the girl's business,” 25-year-old Iriana Andrianalimanana, founder of the Citizen Healthy Girls project for abused or abandoned adolescent girls, told FRANCE 24.

“The other members of the family do not even talk about it, and life sciences lessons are really theoretical, they are taught things that they do not even understand,” she added.

Magadgascar has no sanitation policy in place, and two-thirds of Malagasy women do not have access to safe and clean toilets, a fundamental human right.

"Imagine that you have your periods, and you have to change your sanitary pad,” Rindra Rakotojoelimaria, menstrual hygiene project manager at Water Aid, told FRANCE 24. “There’s no toilet, there is no shower, so you have to go outside. Outside, people can see you, there’s no dignity.”

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