Posted on 20 June 2013
School attendance for girls in Uganda depends on improved menstrual hygiene management, a recent national stake holder dialogue workshop in Kampala has heard.
According to a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) survey conducted by Dutch development organisation SNV in 120 schools across six districts in Uganda, girls are more likely to remain at home from school during their period due to a lack of facilities for and embarrassment about menstrual hygiene.
The advice includes to build more clean toilets and wash rooms.
Absences from school can vary from a few days per month to dropping out and leaving school completely. "There is a linkage between girls who menstruate and potentially drop out of school," said Bernard Eyadu, Media advisor SNV who highlighted the need to address this problem both in schools locally and at a national level.
Making school attendance easier
On a practical level many schools lack hygiene facilities such as toilets, water, washrooms, changing rooms, pads and pain killers. Providing these facilities would make regular school attendance easier for girls.
In addition to providing benefit to the schoolgirls, opportunities for the local development of sanitary pads including manufacturing and marketing of innovative low-cost sanitary towels were also highlighted.
Taboo of menstruation
Taboos about menstruation and a lack of support and advice at school have also led to embarrassment and shame amongst girls, emphasising the importance of education about menstruation. "It is the duty of parents to raise awareness to the children in order to prevent stigma." says Doreen Kabasindi Wandera, Executive Director Uganda Water and Sanitation Network.
It was recommended that reproductive health education and life skills be included in the national school curriculum for both girls and boys and that the Ministry of Education and Sports incorporate menstrual management indicators in monitoring and evaluation systems for primary schools.
SNV is a Duch-based development organisation that has been active in Africa for over 40 years. It's main sectors of activities are agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene (wash) and renewable energy.
About 355 advisors work across 17 African countries, with 70 per cent being nationals.
This news item was originally published on the website of SNV.
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On the occasion of the celebration of International Women Day on 8 May 2013 the WSSCC council talked in Geneva about menstrual hygiene management. Archana Patkar of WSSCC explains what is needed for improving menstrual hygiene for women and girls.