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Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management

Place : Nalanda & Vaishali

Although, Mensuration is a normal biological process yet beliefs and superstitions regarding menstruation have led to a culture of silence. Talking about menstruation is considered taboo and girls are uncomfortable to openly discuss what is perceived as a private and an unclean affair in rural areas. Often, adolescent girls have no credible source of information to educate themselves on menstrual hygiene management

A study of 2013 with respect to knowledge, attitude, practices and norms related to mensuration among adolescent girls revealed that 83% of girls were completely unprepared for first menarche resulting their first experience of menstruation is of shame, fear, horror, agony or sin. The study also revealed that more than 96% of girls use cloth which is not properly washed and dried in sunlight, resulting in repeated infections while 59% missed their schools on account of mensuration in Vaishali and Nalanda District (Bihar).

IDF in partnership with UNICEF embarked a project on “ Promoting Young Adolescents  Reproductive Health Initiative” to break the culture of silence around menstruation and create an environment which directly impacted the lives of 198911 adolescent girls by focusing upon educating them, capacity building of 3780 Frontline workers,  environment-building through stakeholder engagement specially mothers of adolescent girls, SHG members and Middle and high school teachers in 1049 villages in Vaishali and Nalanda district.

The project was implemented in two phases with an intention to reduce embarrassment around menarche, to understand the importance of mensuration & menstrual hygiene and to promote and maintain the behavior of using properly clean and dried in sunlight cloth/ sanitary napkins during menstrual cycle among adolescent girls. 

The program has emerged to be highly successful in terms of improving the knowledge level of adolescent girls, change in attitude while talking freely about menarche and improvement in practices related to menstrual hygiene. As a result of the intervention made through orientations, trainings, various community meetings, video shows and enrolling 5 life skill module there is a remarkable improvement in percentage of adolescent girls using clean and dry cloth as Absorbent, attending schools during Mensuration and proper disposal of the used cloth or napkin as well their confidence level has increased while sharing the issues related to periods with friends and family members.