MHM

Menstrual Hygiene and Management (MHM) is a major reason that young girls in Uganda miss school. In 2017,  we conducted a baseline survey among 1102 female students in 18 primary and secondary schools in Jinja and Mayuge districts. We included 18 Senior Women Teachers/Senior Men Teachers, school administrators, and 5 parents. We also held 8 Focus Group Discussions (FGD) among 62 adolescent boys.   Survey findings showed that most adolescents had poor knowledge about menstruation; 211 or 19% of adolescent girls aged 10-14 had never heard the word menstruation, 55.9% did not know how/why women or girls undergo menstruation, 94.5% did not know the source of menstrual blood, while 30.6% of girls and most boys in FGD believed that menstruation is a disease/curse.  
The major sources of information about menstruation were senior women teachers (SWT) (32%) and mothers (31.9%). Besides providing inadequate and incorrect information to adolescent girls, mothers and teachers were an indirect source of self-stigmatizing beliefs and views about menstruation.   Most girls (39.9%) were using pieces of cloth to manage the menstrual flow. Other materials used included sanitary pads, cotton wool, homemade reusable pads, reusable pads donated by NGOs, 2 panties, toilet paper, sitting in the sand and local herbs.   More than half of adolescent girls (58.3%) rated the pain they experience during menstruation from 5-10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. There were perceptions among some girls (28.1%) that sex cures painful periods and that menstruation means that a girl is ready for marriage (18.1%).   Most schools (15 out of 18) did not have washrooms where girls could change pads and clean themselves during menstruation. A considerable number of girls (11.8%) were not cleaning themselves, while (15.6%) were not changing pads during menstruation.   Less than half (41.6%) or 4 out of every 10 adolescent girls missed school due to menstruation. The number of days missed ranged from 4 to 20 with an average of 9.3 or 3.1 days per cycle and a standard deviation of 2.5.   The major causes of absenteeism included inadequate sanitary pads (57.7%), stigma associated with menstruation (43.5%), lack of a place to change and clean (34.2%) and pain associated with menstruation (21.5%). Most girls (59.3%) who missed school due to menstruation were concerned that it had an impact on their academic performance.  
With support from AmplifyChange, CCUg is implementing a MHM project in 15 primary and secondary schools in Jinja and Mayuge districts. The project involves training of 900 peer mentors and 75 teachers in the provision of culturally sensitive and gender appropriate information about menstrual health. The training will also cover the production of homemade re-usable sanitary pads. The project also involves the provision of sexuality education with an emphasis on MHM and formation of 15 health clubs in the beneficiary schools.  
© 2018: Community Concerns Uganda | Awesome Theme by: D5 Creation | Powered by: WordPress