Finding cost-effective solutions for menstrual hygiene is critical to sustained use. One of the most cost-effective solutions is the menstrual cup, which costs $8-45, but can last up to 10 years.

Also cost-effective are reusable pads, as they can be used for years with proper care. However, the initial cost can be high. AFRIpads, (www.afripads.com) an African-made reusable kit, costs US $4-5 per pack. Commercially made reusable pads cost between US $6-36 for varying size packs.

Both of these options require a high level of hygiene, to avoid introducing bacteria and creating urogenital infections. The menstrual cup must be washed before insertion and, ideally, be boiled in between cycles. Reusable pads need to be washed with soap and water and hung to dry outdoors, where air and sunlight can naturally sterilize them.

Tampons and disposable sanitary pads can be prohibitively expensive, especially those that are commercially manufactured, and require facilities to throw them away. Commercial pads can cost US $2-3 per box of ten, and tampons can cost US $2-4 per pack of 16. Locally made disposable products are sometimes available and have a lower cost. MakaPads (http://t4tafrica.co/makapads), a biodegradable option available in Uganda, cost US 50 cents per pack of 10.  Source.

According to the World Bank, the average income in Cameroon is $112.50 per month. http://databank.worldbank.org/data/reports.aspx?source=2&country=CMR&series=&period=

Keeping menstrual hygiene solutions as affordable as possible is key!

Community Development Network of Cameroon is helping girls stay healthy by raising funds to provide sanitary pads and menstrual cups to more than 1,500 girls in over 300 schools in Northwest and Southwest Cameroon. Please donate here.