Given the multiple challenges adolescent girls and women face, especially in sub-Sahara and other African countries, it is evident that promoting menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and distributing monthly menstrual hygiene packs is not just a health issue but also an important step towards safeguarding overall life improvement for girls and women. It is a call to dignity, rights, and empowerment.
Female Hygiene is a world health issue?
Lack of access to basic hygiene products has led women to use unhygienic materials, such as rags, leading to an increased risk of reproductive and urinary tract infections. Investing in girls’ and women’s menstrual health is a cost-effective development intervention that has long-term benefits for the reduction of child and maternal mortality, and leads to stronger economic growth.
Based on studies and pre/post survey results from our programs, many girls have expressed increase in self-confidence as a result of our Menstrual Hygiene Management and monthly supply of hygiene packs.
Investing in girls’ and womens’ menstrual health is a cost-effective development intervention that has long-term benefits for the reduction of child and maternal mortality, and leads to stronger economic growth for families and nations.
Menstrual issues adversely affect girls’ performance at school. Globally, approximately 130 million girls are out of school (UNESCO).
Studies in Nigeria, Uganda and many other African countries have shown the huge positive impact of
MHM on girls’ education, with absenteeism from being associated with lack of adequate materials, privacy, and limited availability of water and sanitation facilities at schools. Stigma, taboo, and inadequate knowledge also mean that girls and women are poorly equipped to make informed personal decisions and choices about their own health, including their sexual and reproductive health, thus contributing to a cycle of early pregnancy and child marriage. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), approximately 7.3 million girls under the age of 18 give birth
each year (a number that is much higher if all pregnancies are included, not just births), and, according to UNICEF, 21% of young women were married before their 18th birthday in 2020.
Access to female hygiene helped them. Hear their stories
Health Care Professionals are part of our MHM team and provide answers to health-related questions and understanding to the girls. The girls leave the program with better aware of their menstrual health and are able to support their younger sisters and friends.
Before MSO’s MHM program in her village, she often miss school. Now she goes to school every day and she is her school representative for the MHM. And she’s just getting started. She is also under MSO education scholarship.
Parents, Community leaders and school authority buy-in to the MHM program. MSO is encouraged by the interest and receptiveness to the program. Beliefs and taboos are being addressed and parents are supportive of their children.
Educating boys in schools is critical to the overall success of our MHM programs in schools. Attending education sessions and involving them in general discussion group create the awareness and understanding of the challenges girls in school face during menstruation. Positive environment is therefore generated for the girls.
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What is puberty?
Puberty is the time in which a child’s sexual and physical characteristics mature. It occurs due to hormone changes. Adolescence is the period between puberty and adulthood.
What to do in case a sanitary pad is not available?
While opting for a sanitary solution is best, in case a sanitary napkin or a tampon is not available, clean cotton cloth can be used to soak up the menstrual flow. The cloth should be changed periodically depending on the flow. In case you plan to use the same piece of cloth again, make sure it is washed thoroughly, dried under the sun, and stored in a clean and dry place.
How to dispose of these sanitary products?
One-time use sanitary products should be disposed of with care. Sanitary pads should not be thrown out in the open as they may turn into a breeding ground for bacteria. They should not be flushed down the toilets either as the plastic can choke up drains.
They should be wrapped in newspaper and discarded along with the garbage. If your village or town does not have a daily garbage collection facility, it is better to burn them instead of letting them lie
What is a menstruation?
“Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus (more commonly known as the womb). Menstruation is also known by the terms menses, menstrual period, cycle or period. (Cleveland Clinic)
What is menarche?
Menarche is the first occurrence of a menstrual period in a female adolescent. Girls start menstruating somewhere between the ages of 9 and 16 and continue to do so until approximately their early 50’s.
What is a menstrual cycle?
The time between the first day of a menstrual period and the beginning of the next one is referred to as a menstrual cycle. Usually, a typical cycle lasts for 28 days. However, this differs from person to person and can last anywhere from 22 to 45 days.
How long does menstrual period usually last?
A menstrual ‘period’, also known as menstruation, typically lasts anywhere from two to eight days. This varies from person to person.
How much blood does a woman lose during every menstrual period?
The amount of blood lost is small (2 to 3 tablespoons). However, women who have menorrhagia usually bleed for more than 7 days and lose twice as much blood.
Are periods painful?
Slight abdominal pain and cramping during periods are normal. The intensity and duration vary from person to person. This is due to the release of hormone-like compounds called prostaglandins which stimulate contractions of smooth muscles, of which the uterus is one. But for some women, the pain is so severe that it keeps them from doing their normal activities for several days a month.
Why is menstrual hygiene important?
The majority of females have very limited or no knowledge about menstruation and the importance of personal hygiene while menstruating. Maintaining adequate hygiene during menses is necessary to prevent infections as well as for general comfort and easy mobility. Due to this lack of knowledge, many women follow very unsafe practices such as using unsanitary materials during their menses.