- 52% of female population, 26% of total population is of reproductive age , whereas talking about menstruation is considered a subject of shame and taboo.
- 5-15% of women of reproductive age globally, have abnormal menstrual cycle globally.
- 3 out of 10 girls are unaware of menstrual hygiene
- 90% of girls miss 1-5 days of school on average every month due to their period.
- 23% girls aged 11-18 drop out due to lack of sanitary supplies, fear of staining,
Menstruation, a natural process in women’s life needs special care from physical and psychological point of view. Negligence in menstrual hygiene can result in biological disorders for example different sorts of infections but unfortunately awareness concerning this area of life is not highlighted due to socio-cultural trends of our society. In present age menstrual hygiene needs more attention because of rapidly increasing active participation of females in different walks of life. One of the main reasons behind the issue is that menstruation is considered in many societies including Pakistan a hidden and secret issue. It is not openly discussed between mother and daughter. In many cultures menstruation is being perceived as unclean and embarrassing and also believed that it must remain hidden in communication. There is lack of adequate knowledge and proper facilities for menstrual waste management. Girls belonging to low income class and less educated families, don’t know how to dispose off sanitary material properly especially in time of immediate need. The focus on menstrual hygiene management is an essential part of promoting hygiene and sanitation amongst adolescent girls and
women who constitute approximately 45 per cent of the total female population. Menstrual hygiene promotion will be an indirect support to gender equality, national development, high literacy rate and MDGs accomplishment.
Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management is critical to be taught to achieve the Sustainable Developmental Goals 3, 4 , 5 , 6 , 8 and 12 to ensure healthy lives, inclusive quality education, gender quality, sustained availability of sanitation, economic growth and sustained consumption and production respectively. “Menstrual Health and Hygiene” project was conducted in two Governement Girls institutes of Bahawalpur. Girls of age 14-16 were given information on proper management of menstruation, various disorder, health and dietary reccomendations related to menstruation. They were guided on simple ways to ease the pain so they can actively participate in daily life activities. The topics of dangers of unsanitary habits and complete hygiene guideline were covered during the sessions. They were taught how to precisely measure the expected date of your next period to prevent accidents and emergencies. An activity ‘ Let’s Break the Myths” was conducted in which we asked the teenage girls to tell us about the myths about mentruation they have believed to be true. These myths were broken down as per no scientific evidence.
At the end of the session the girls were distributed a “hygiene kit”. The kit had mestrual flow absorbents, sanitary soaps and a hygiene manual. The manual had complete healthcare and sanitary guideline required to maintain cleanliness and prevent infections during menstruation.
To evaluate the impact of our project, quesstionnaires were filled out byt the girls which indicated that more than 87% of the audience benefited from the knowledge provided. Several misconceptions and taboos surrounding the topic were cleared. The girls who attended the seminar were advised to spread the useful knowledge to their female friends and relatives so the impact of our project would be increased. The project also included a a promotional video to spread the awareness to medical students about the importance of discussing menstrual health and hygiene through Ifmsa – Pakistan pages. Medical Students from different colleges participated in the video and expressed their views on why talking about mentruation is critical for female health.
Link to video : Menstrual health and hygiene: QAMC-LC
Activity Reported by: Ayesha Siddiqua
Activity Coordinators : Ayesha Siddiqua, Haniya Waseem, Tabeer Warraich .