Acceptability of menstrual cups as a sustainable, cost-effective, and non-polluting menstrual hygiene solution for menstrual health in India

ODA Research Seed Fund, University of Liverpool (UoL), and TATA Trusts

Health

Service: Research & Studies

The research study attempts to address the need for sustainable menstrual hygiene products. It understands the acceptability and adaptability of reusable menstrual cups as a non-polluting alternative among women in India.

Objectives:

  • Understanding the acceptability of menstrual cups as a solution to girls and women in India in varying contexts
  • Understanding the impact of the provision of information only versus the provision of menstrual cups on uptake of cups as a sustainable solution to menstrual needs of girls and women in varying contexts
  • Understanding of the practical inputs on the eco-system requirements that need to be built in for effective uptake of menstrual cups

Approach and methodology:

The study is being conducted over 31 weeks with 330 participants from the states of Gujarat and Mumbai. It was executed in three phases: baseline, mid-line, and end-line using a mixed approach. The quantitative data was collected through CAPI-Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing. Qualitative data  was collected through Focus group discussions in the baseline and end-line phase and using phones in the midline phase. The respondent groups include: 

  • Unmarried women (aged 18-30),
  • Young married women (aged 18-30 years),
  • Older married women (aged 31-45 years)

Further interviews with key stakeholders were conducted in Dyads or triads, such as field supervisors from Tata Trusts and healthcare providers. Mothers of menstruating daughters were also interviewed through separate discussions and were recruited from older married women.

The participants were randomly allocated to one of the two study conditions with a ratio of 1:2 respectively:

  • Inform only: girls/women were provided with only information and training on the use of cups.
  • Inform plus cup distribution: girls/women received the same training plus a menstrual cup.

The study included 330 participants (with a 100:200 ratio in the two conditions plus 10% buffer for drop out) with an average of 7 participants per focus group. The core team used data from the baseline, midline and end-line for the analysis. The draft and final reports were prepared with inputs from experts in menstrual health at various stages of the process.

Results: 

Data and information from the study would create scope for understanding the menstrual cups’ safety and the impact. The study would also create an environment for more in-depth research on the acceptability of menstrual cups in different contexts and support the development of regulatory and policy frameworks for the safe introduction in the Indian market and through Government programs addressing MHM.