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Women's health is not in focus in disaster zones: lessons from the Nepal earthquake
  1. Suraj B Thapa1,
  2. Ganesh Acharya2,3
  1. 1Division of Mental Health and Addiction, University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Women's Health and Perinatology Research Group, Department of Clinical Medicine, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ganesh Acharya, Women's Health and Perinatology Research Group, Department of Clinical Medicine, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Sykehusveien 38, Tromsø, Norway; ganesh.acharya@ki.se, ganesh.acharya{at}uit.no

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Nepal was hit by a powerful earthquake in 2015, causing enormous damage to physical infrastructure and human lives in many parts of the country. It caused serious threat to women's and children’s health both during and after the earthquake. An article in this issue of the journal highlights one easily forgotten hardship among many faced by women in this situation. Budhathoki and coworkers describe the difficulties surrounding menstrual hygiene in post-earthquake Nepal, where women used and reused clothes as sanitary towels – a practice that was considered culturally acceptable and feasible in crisis situations.1 The authors argue that menstrual hygiene received a low priority due to the overwhelming need of water, food and shelter in such crisis situations. An earlier report based on field visits carried out in temporary camps in Sindhupalchok district has also highlighted that menstruation and childbirth are considered natural physiological phenomena not requiring attention, and are not prioritised in disaster areas.2

Even before the earthquake, women's health had not been prioritised in Nepal, …

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