ELKINS – Davis Health System is launching an initiative to assist young women with an issue that affects many students – accessibility to feminine hygiene products.
The program, known as “Period Packs,” will provide area schools with feminine care products at no cost to students.
“Our goal is to have menstrual product kits available at all the schools in our service area so that when or if students have an incident related to their period, or just start their period without the supplies they need on-hand, there is a resource for them to take care of the situation,” explained Dr. Anne Banfield, DHS director of Women’s Health Services.
“We don’t want students to have to leave school or miss education time because of lack of supplies in the schools or lack of affordable supplies – not everyone can afford to use a product vending machine, if the machine is even available,” she continued.
Banfield added the location of the kits will be left to the discretion of each individual school to make them most readily accessible to the students while also avoiding them being at a location where students may be embarrassed to utilize the products.
Another goal of the program is to promote the importance of good feminine health.
“I want to make sure menstruation is not a reason menstruating people in our schools have to leave school or have poor/potentially traumatic experiences,” she said.
DHS officials hope to see the program grow and cover the entire region in which DHS provides medical services.
“We are hoping to have the program in Davis Health Systems’ entire service area,” Banfield said.
Once the program is launched, members of the local communities can provide contributions to assist the program.
“As we get the program up and running we would be happy to provide a list of the items we will be including in the ‘Period Packs’ and accept donations from the community for these items,” Banfield explained.
Many hospital employees, patients, and volunteers are assisting in the construction of the kits.
“The ‘Period Packs’ are being assembled by the staff of Women’s HealthCare and the patients who participate in our ‘Substance Use In Pregnancy: Treatment for Two program,’” Banfield said. “We have been working to integrate community service into our office-based medication assisted treatment program since we know service to others provides benefits to those providing the service.”
According to a study conducted by BioMedical Central (BMC) – a United Kingdom-based scientific publisher that produces over 250 scientific journals – in 2021, approximately 500 million individuals who menstruate lack access to menstrual products and hygiene facilities, while roughly 16.9 million people who menstruate live in poverty in the United States.