CUP COMFORT FOR MENSTRUAL CYCLE
Written by: Thabiso Goba
The Maternal, Adolescent and Child Health Research Unit (MRU) was at the Durban University of Technology’s Steve Biko Campus on Tuesday, to introduce a new innovation.
Menstrual cups were introduced at the university as part of the MRU research project to DUT female students.
The MRU conducted research on women between the ages of 18-24 years for its latest cost-effective hygiene product, made of medical grade silicon that can last the user for up to five years.
Programme Coordinator, Bongiwe Zulu, said that she hopes to see Menstrual Cups (MCups) replace tampons and pads as the leading product for feminine menstrual hygiene.
“With everything new, there is always an uncertainty to it so that’s why we found it imperative to first teach the girls about the MCups and how to use it,” she said.
Unlike tampons and pads, MCups store instead of absorb.
Zulu said that its cost-effectiveness is very important to reiterate especially in a country like South Africa, where girls miss out on school during their periods because they cannot afford sanitary material.
MCups are re-usable and need to be only rinsed with cold water, no detergents or any other chemicals, and stored in a clean container.
Research Assistant of the project, Nailine Lazarus, said that the research into MCups started last year.
Lazarus added that different samples and brands of menstrual cups were sourced from all over the world and after intensive research, they settled on the MINA cup.
Since last month, MRU has been to various KwaZulu-Natal universities and Further Education Training campuses distributing the cups. Part of their research mandate is to interview girls who used the cups and get feedback from them at different intervals.
Lazarus said that they have received positive responses for the first month interval but the more definitive analysis will come after the six and 12-month intervals.
“There’s (also) a qualitative component of the study which is focused group discussions. We are going to have discussions with at least 8-12 girls from different institutions and we will ask them questions about the menstrual cup and their experiences,” said Lazarus.
Zulu added that MCups are not prevalent in SA, as they are sold only at Dischem stores, with the retail price of approximately R200. She estimates that in three years there will be a bigger market for MCups in SA.
*Caption: Students at the Steve Biko campus enquiring about the Mcups.