Identifying and Addressing the Challenges of Mainstreaming the Menstrual Cup in Uganda
Sammanfattning: Menstruation is a normal body function and a sign of reproductive health. Although it is a fundamental human right for girls and women to have the ability to properly manage their menstruation, it is a long-neglected issue in low-income countries. Pilot studies have provided optimism for the menstrual cup’s potential to improve the quality of life for Ugandan girls and women. Several actors are involved in creating a market for menstrual cups in Uganda, both commercially and through donations. However, there is barely any visible demand for the product. The study seeks to identify and address the challenges of mainstreaming the menstrual cup in Uganda by investigating challenges connected to creating demand and availability and suggesting how the identified challenges should be prioritized and addressed. To achieve the purpose of the thesis, a literature review and a representative single case study were conducted. The literature review investigated the process of which new products are adopted, as well as previous research on challenges to create demand and availability in a developing context. A case study was conducted on the nature of the Ugandan market for menstrual cups. Eighteen interviews were conducted with representatives from current actors on the Ugandan market for menstrual cups, as well as people and organizations with relevant experience for an expansion of that market. The thesis identified several challenges connected to creating demand and availability for the menstrual cup in Uganda. Challenges associated with creating demand were found to relate to limited affordability, acceptability, and limited awareness among both Ugandan girls and women as well as among decision-makers on higher levels. Challenges associated with creating availability were found to relate to poor infrastructure, difficulty to find service providers willing to push for the product and taking on the financial risk, regulations, and the lack of information. To make the menstrual cup a mainstream feminine hygiene product in Uganda, extensive efforts as well as a coordination of these efforts is required. To enable coordination, the thesis suggests a threestep framework for prioritizing and addressing the identified challenges. The first step focuses on increasing awareness among women in Kampala and decision-makers. Further, regulatory issues must be addressed to enable an increased affordability and availability. The second step focuses on increasing availability in Kampala, increasing awareness through customized and national marketing, and increasing acceptance through involving influencers to do advocacy. Further, a partial payment model should be implemented to overcome the barrier of a perceived high price compared to substitutes. Lastly, the third step focuses on increasing availability in the Western, Central and Eastern regions.
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