As a way to fight period poverty, menstrual products at CHEO are now readily available and free, the hospital announced on its website.
“If you have your period, you need supplies, period (pun intended),” said Dr. Megan Harrison, Adolescent Health specialist at CHEO and associate professor at uOttawa, Friday. “I am so proud of CHEO for taking a leadership position on health equity. Youth and their families have been telling us that this matters to them; so we turned their suggestion into something real. I see kids having to choose between paying for the bus or menstrual products and others having to ration their households’ supply. The scenarios are never-ending.”
According to a recent study by Plan International Canada, one third of Canadians who menstruate under the age of 25 say they’ve struggled to afford menstrual products (pads and tampons).
Some people don’t use menstrual products at all because they cannot afford them, while others use limited supplies incorrectly in effort to save money. Unsanitary measures taken during menstruation can have serious health consequences, including toxic shock syndrome, increased lower reproductive tract infections and outer skin infections. Not having access to proper sanitary products for menstrual hygiene can also impact one’s social and academic life, even their mental health, CHEO said on their website.
Now, CHEO says, patients staff and medical staff can have access to the free supplies as well.
“It is so important to have menstrual products available to everyone in our community. It’s amazing to know that whatever you need is here [at CHEO] for you, whether you can’t afford the products or you just weren’t prepared and need some pads or tampons to make it through the day. It’s a simple thing to do to make the day so much easier for us,” said Libby V., 15 years old.
The cost of this initiative covered in CHEO’s operational budget.