Menstruation hygiene refers to the access to menstrual hygiene products to absorb or collect the flow of blood during menstruation, privacy to change the materials, and access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials. Menstruation refers to the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s uterus. It is also known as the menstrual period/cycle. It’s a combination of party blood and partly tissue from the inside of the uterus. It flows from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina.
The menstruation cycle is considered to begin on the first day of the period. The average cycle is 28 days however the cycle can range from 21 to 35 days. The menstrual cycle is triggered by the rise and fall of the hormones in the body. At the age of 12, a girl can start menstruating however some start at the age of 8 or even 16 years.
How does a girl know that period is about to come?
Some of the symptoms of normal menstruation could get.
- Trouble sleeping
- Food craving
- Cramps in the lower abdomen and back
- Tenderness in the breasts
Missing out school
So many adolescents mostly in rural areas miss out on school due to the stigma and period of poverty. This puts them at risk of entering into child marriage, experiencing and early pregnancy, and domestic violence and pregnancy complications. The pads or sanitary towels are too expensive for the parents to buy as they cost between 2500shs to around 9000shs. So instead cut clothes or use toilet paper to help collect cycle blood which puts their health in danger.
If they can’t afford to get water for cooking food then don’t expect them to get the one for showering. No guidance is given to the girl on how to keep themselves clean to avoid infections. So many girls in Uganda on their first period do not know what to do, they don’t know what is happening to their bodies, and they don’t know how to manage their pains and how to clean themselves.
Pain and disposal
The pain experienced during the period is also too much for the girl sometimes which stops them from going to school. Some girls when the periods come they unable to walk or even do anything because of pain.
The means of disposal is also worrying as many just throw the used towels anywhere they find for example on garbage tracks. There are two types of pads in Uganda that are reusable pads these go for a year. And the disposable pads which are used at once. If somebody’s hygiene is not so good I would advise her to use the disposal ones as they don’t need washing. Burning of pads would be the best way of keeping the hygiene than just throwing them any way they find. This is because they are made of practices (disposal pads) since they are degradable. So somebody needs to come out and help the girls not to miss out on the school just because of the periods. Boys should also be informed about the menstruation periods to avoid mocking the girls.
in rural areas is worrying as there are no friendly designed facilities to access privacy and sanitary products. Rural primary and secondary schools in Uganda have failed to provide proper water sanitation and hygiene facilities. In addition with sanitary products to the girl students. But in 2015 a circular number 1/2015 was issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports instructing all educational institutions to undertake and observe several measures for menstrual hygiene management. Below are some of the core ones:
- Provision of separate toilet facilities for boys, girls, children with disabilities, male and female teachers.
- Adequate water tanks near the toilet facilities to ensure regular supply of water and soap
- Emergency changing uniforms, wrappers, sanitary towels, and pain killers for girls.
- Trained senior women and male teachers to support girls through the process of maturation including them in standard specifications.
- School management committees and boards to prioritize menstrual hygiene management.
The president of Uganda once suggested that there should be the provision of sanitary pads for free to the primary school girls around the country. However, the education minister responded by saying that such a project requires huge amounts of funds to provide sanitary towels across the country and sustain it.
To sum up,
menstrual hygiene should be given a high priority everywhere in the country. This is through improving wash facilities by providing bins, toilet paper cages, and soap. Guiding pain relief methods. Training the girls and women on the menstrual kit. Puberty education to both boys and girls. Love Uganda foundation and Tuyambe.org are looking forward to gifting pads to the schoolgirls under the project of keeping an orphan in school with its partners. Choose to volunteer with us under the health care program and the education program to help an orphan define his or her future. You can help through donations and sponsoring the child in school.