In acknowledgment of world Menstrual Health Day 2024 (#MHDay2024), the launch of “Period Stories” awareness video was hosted by the Pacific Menstrual Health Network (PMHN) on Friday last week.

It was led by the secretariat, Hannah Tamata and co-hosted with Mary and Jack Kalsrap of Mamma’s Laef Vanuatu, who have been working in the menstrual health space for many years.

“Period is a sensitive and taboo topic in Vanuatu and across the Pacific” said Ms Tamata. “From Papua New Guinea to Samoa, we have celebrated #MHDay2024 in a very big way by launching Pacific Period Stories film campaign.

“These are story-tellers of different ages, cultures and genders share their personal menstrual health journey in raw, vulnerable and inspiring ways.”

The film project was led by Pacific women, with support provided to women videographers and photographers (along with some men). The teams behind the scenes who captured the stories share their insights about what it was like to document menstrual health experiences.

Vanuatu star of the video, Mr. Aminio David was in attendance and addressed the gathered group. Mr. David is the only man to participate in the story telling is from Vanuatu. The Pango native is a brave man indeed to speak out in support of the need to support women and girls in making life easier for them when it comes to ‘sikmun,’ providing funds for menstrual resources and helping to break some of the taboos.

A panel moderated by Relvie Poilapa and comprising of Sharon Nicolls from Sista, Anne Pakoa from Vanuatu Young Women for Change (VYWC), Mrs. Kalsrap from Mamma’s Laef, Vivian Obed from Further Arts and Ben Taura of Manage Family Health, Ministry of Health (MoH) including discussed some of the positive impacts currently occurring in Vanuatu.

Family Life Education has introduced menstrual health education into the school curriculum for senior levels and it is hoped to be introduced to the junior levels. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) look forward to more collaboration with the MoH to address the Menstrual Health and Hygiene issues in Vanuatu.

The launch was attended by 42 people.