Tag Archives: menstrual hygiene

Rose George – What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society?

What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society? by Rose George, WaterAid Blog, July 2014 |

Journalist Rose George reports on her visit to WaterAid Nepal, where she saw the impact of menstrual taboos on women and girls.

Excerpts – For Radha dinner is served at 7. She crouches down behind a shed, a good distance from her house, then waits.

She knows what the menu will be: boiled rice, the same as yesterday and the day before. She knows that it will be her little sister who serves it, throwing the rice onto her plate from a height, the way you would feed a dog.

Radha Bishwa Karma serving food behind the toilet. Credit: WaterAid/Poulomi Basu

Radha Bishwa Karma serving food behind the toilet.
Credit: WaterAid/Poulomi Basu

In Jamu, Radha’s village in western Nepal, her status is lower than a dog’s, because she is menstruating.

She is only 16, yet, for the length of her period, Radha can’t enter her house or eat anything but boiled rice. She can’t touch other women – not even her grandmother or sister – because her touch will pollute them. If she touches a man or a boy, he will start shivering and sicken.

If she eats butter or buffalo milk, the buffalo will sicken too and stop milking. If she enters a temple or worships at all, her gods will be furious and take their revenge, by sending snakes or some other calamity.

Here, menstruation is dirty, and a menstruating girl is a powerful, polluting thing. A thing to be feared and shunned.

 

WEDC – Menstruation hygiene management for schoolgirls

Menstruation hygiene management for schoolgirls, 2014.

Author: Tracey Crofts, WEDC.

This guide outlines the problems experienced by menstruating schoolgirls in low-income countries. Although its focus is predominantly sub-Saharan Africa, many of the issues raised are relevant to girls in most low-income countries, although there may be differences in popular practice and beliefs. Menstrual-hygiene-on-line-8

The guide also evaluates simple solutions to these problems including the use of low-cost sanitary pads, and suggests ways in which menstruation hygiene management (MHM) can be included in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes.

Can you imagine not being able to go to school because you’re on your period?

Can you imagine not being able to go to school because you’re on your period? | Source/complete article: Women24, Feb 10, 2014.

Excerpt - Sue Barnes’ Project Dignity allows girls and young women in townships and rural areas to keep attending school while they’re menstruating. 

Sue Barnes displays the Subz panty pack she has designed for girls who cannot afford sanitary products. Picture: Marilyn Bernard

Sue Barnes displays the Subz panty pack she has designed for girls who cannot afford sanitary products. Picture: Marilyn Bernard

Sue Barnes, founder of Project Dignity, a remarkable initiative for South African school girls, has been recognised as the 2013 Clarins Most Dynamic Woman of the Year.

Barnes, from Cowies Hill in KwaZulu-Natal, founded the project after she learned how many girls in poor communities skip school while they menstruate.

Lacking money to buy sanitary products, many South African school girls don’t attend class during menstruation.

They also put themselves at risk of infection by using unhygienic alternatives to sanitary pads, such as newspaper or even sand and leaves. As a result, millions of girls miss up to a quarter of their school days.

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Assessment of Beliefs and Practices Relating to Menstrual Hygiene of Adolescent Girls in Lebanon

Assessment of Beliefs and Practices Relating to Menstrual Hygiene of Adolescent Girls in Lebanon. International Journal of Health Sciences and Research (IJHSR), 2013; 3(12): 75-88.

Authors: Tania Santina, Nancy Wehbe, Fouad M. Ziade, Mona Nehme.

Abstract
Introduction: Poor menstrual hygiene prevents achieving the several Millennium Development Goals. The aim of this study was to assess menstrual hygiene practices based on sociocultural beliefs of adolescent girls in Lebanon.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional survey was conducted, in 2010, among 389 post-menarcheal adolescent girls aged 13 to 19 years, at five high schools in Sidon city and suburbs, using a cluster randomized sampling and self-completed questionnaires. Collected data was analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results: Of 389 participants, 89.5% did not follow all menstrual hygiene practices recommended, they adopted menstrual practices based on the dominant sociocultural beliefs found in the Lebanese society about these matters: 66.9% and 16.5%, respectively, did not shower in the first three days of menstruation or during all days of menstruation, and activity restrictions included physical (70.3%) and social (18.2%) activity and diet (35.5%).

A significant association was found between describe menstrual hygiene practices based on sociocultural beliefs and type of school, religion, both parents’ education levels, as well as family monthly income. Logistic regression analyses indicated that significant variables predicting describe menstrual hygiene practices based on sociocultural beliefs were mother level education (OR = 2.8; P < 0.001), and religion (OR = 0.7; P = 0.002).

Conclusion: Findings indicate the need for health school education programs during puberty; they also can help design appropriate intervention strategies.

May #MENSTRAVAGANZA – WASH United’s menstrual hygiene campaign

“If women can have moustaches we can all talk about menstruation”. With this message WASH United kicked off May MENSTRAVAGANZA, a 28-day campaign to raise awareness and break the silence around menstruation and menstrual hygiene.

Messages are posted on the campaign website:
wash-united-may-menstravaganza.tumblr.com and
on Twitter using hashtag #MENSTRAVAGANZA

Review of the Health and Social Effects of Menstrual Hygiene Management

A Systematic Review of the Health and Social Effects of Menstrual Hygiene Management. PLoS ONE 8(4) 2013.

Sumpter C, Torondel B

Background – Differing approaches to menstrual hygiene management (MHM) have been associated with a wide range of health and psycho-social outcomes in lower income settings. This paper systematically collates, summarizes and critically appraises the available evidence. plos

Methods – Following the PRISMA guidelines a structured search strategy was used to identify articles investigating the effects of MHM on health and psycho-social outcomes. The search was conducted in May 2012 and had no date limit. Data was extracted and quality of methodology was independently assessed by two researchers. Where no measure of effect was provided, but sufficient data were available to calculate one, this was undertaken. Meta-analysis was conducted where sufficient data were available.

Results – 14 articles were identified which looked at health outcomes, primarily reproductive tract infections (RTI). 11 articles were identified investigating associations between MHM, social restrictions and school attendance. MHM was found to be associated with RTI in 7 papers. Methodologies however varied greatly and overall quality was low. Meta-analysis of a subset of studies found no association between confirmed bacterial vaginosis and MHM (OR: 1.07, 95% CI: 0.52–2.24). No other substantial associations with health outcomes were found. Although there was good evidence that educational interventions can improve MHM practices and reduce social restrictions there was no quantitative evidence that improvements in management methods reduce school absenteeism.

Conclusion – The management of menstruation presents significant challenges for women in lower income settings; the effect of poor MHM however remains unclear. It is plausible that MHM can affect the reproductive tract but the specific infections, the strength of effect, and the route of transmission, remain unclear. There is a gap in the evidence for high quality randomised intervention studies which combine hardware and software interventions, in particular for better understanding the nuanced effect improving MHM may have on girls’ attendance at school

Global Review of Sanitation System Trends and Interactions with Menstrual Management Practices

Global Review of Sanitation System Trends and Interactions with Menstrual Management Practices, 2012.

Kjellén, M., C. Pensulo, P. Nordqvist and M. Fogde. Stockholm Environment Institute.

This review of sanitation system trends and interactions with menstrual management practices has been conducted as part of the broader project on Menstrual Management and Sanitation Systems. sei

It starts with a review of trends in the development of urban sanitation systems and then explores the interaction between menstrual management and sanitation systems, mainly relating to the issue of disposal of used menstrual blood absorption materials. Finally, it proposes a framework of interactions by positioning a range of issues of particular relevance for menstrual management into the different parts of the sanitation system.

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