Menstrual Hygiene Management
|AWARENESS ABOUT THE MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT|
Menstrual Hygiene management is an issue that is insufficiently acknowledged and has not received adequate attention in the reproductive health and Hygiene management especially in rural areas of Haryana and Delhi and oher parts of the country. Hygiene related practices of women during menstruation are of considerable importance as it has a health impact in terms of increased vulnerability to infection... This is an important sanitation issue which has long been in the closed and there was a long standing need to openly discuss it Women's special needs on menstrual management is less recognized and much less attended to. Poor knowledge caused by the culturally and religiously linked myths and misconceptions around menstruation block from achieving desired practices. Want of adequate facilities in public places, schools and community facilities also hampers improved menstrual hygiene behaviors
Menstruation is a physiological process leading very special needs for women and girls. The onset of menstruation is one of the most important changes occurring among the girls during the adolescent years. The first menstruation (menarche) occurs between 11 and 15 years with when girls are in school going age group. Menstruation and menstrual practices are still clouded by taboos and social-culture restrictions resulting in adolescent girls and adult women still unable to share their difficulties and problems related to menstrual management. Many of them remain ignorant of the scientific fact, essential hygiene aspects of menstrual management and also of the modern day options available. Poor Menstrual Hygiene often lead to reproductive tract infections and a very abysmal situation is where a woman normally using latrines for defecation stops usage during menstrual days for afraid of spreading the impurity to others latrines user in the family. It is high time to recognize the need for mainstreaming menstrual hygiene promotion and also learn from the experiences and literature across for wider adoption.
|REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: A MAJOR CONCERN AMONG RURAL WOMEN|
Poverty forces women to ignore their health problems mainly related to the reproductive system causing serious health hazard. Most of the women use cloth during menstruation period leading to poor hygiene. Sanitary pads are not used by women either due to ignorance or due to high cost. Most women cannot afford them. A survey was conducted in rural area of Gorgon to gauge the awareness level related to health and hygiene and use of sanitary napkins. It revealed that the awareness level of the women was very low. Only 2 per cent women who were surveyed used sanitary napkins during their menstrual periods and observed little or no hygiene practice. Most of them used the same cloth over and over again without cleaning it properly, leave alone sterilizing it. The women complained about severe pelvic pain, back ache, white discharge and other uterine ailments.
|A VIEW OF TRAINING FOR ADOLECENTS GIRLS IN MIDDLE SCHOOLS TRAINING MODULE|
The training module was prepared meticulously by eminent experts on health and hygiene keeping in mind the present health scenario in rural Haryana and Delhi. The training will be dealt with the concept of biological changes in human body with age, personal hygiene, RCH, MCH, usage of sanitary napkins, its disposal etc. Other topics covered were as follows:-
- Food and Nutrition
- Menstruation-Reality and myths
- Importance of Sanitary Napkins
- First Aid
- Care During Pregnancy
The training will led to marked behavioral changes among women. Compared to 1-2 per cent of sanitary napkin users prior to the training, the usage will go up to at least 15 per cent. There will be considerable number of women in the SHGs supported by CANDLE and partner agency. They will be the first ones to be targeted. And these women spread the message among the other village women. As a result, awareness level related to health and hygiene will grow among the women. The trained SHG members will begin to earn from the marketing of products. Their confidence level wills go high. There will be a gradual shift towards use of sanitary napkin. The impact will also good on adolescent girls. Constant feedback will be taken from the participants of training in structured formats and analyzed. It will be observed that awareness levels increased manifold after the training. The other positive factor is that the trained girls will be serving as agents of change as they spread the useful message to others.
A small survey was conducted In keeping with the Indian tradition; all the girls refrained from worshipping and participating in religious activities during their menstruation. When asked about the kind of material used as absorbent, 70 per cent reported to have used homemade pads of cloth while 10 per cent used both cloth and sanitary napkins. Only six per cent girls were found to be using sanitary napkins alone. The source of information on the sanitary napkin to be used was mother, friend or media. Among those who used cloth, 5 per cent girls said they preferred washed and cleaned cloth. The rest used any type of cotton cloth. 18 per cent used dirty cloth as they thought menstruation was unclean. 90 per cent girls who had not used sanitary napkins sere aware of its availability in the market but they could not afford it due to economic constraints. There is also a significant association between the educational status of the mother and the use of absorbent materials. Most of the girls were not aware of any disease or problems associated with the use of dirty clothes. Some felt that it may cause itching. Only 6 percent knew that it may cause vaginal discharge. In case of any problems related to menstruation, about one-fourth consulted either their mothers or friends. None approached a doctor.