Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM) Project in Morang
Menstruation is one of the very important physiological process of females that start at the time of puberty. Such significant transition from childhood to womanhood for adolescent girls is further manifested in Nepal through traditional and socio-cultural aspects of menstruation, which is perceived as an impure, bound by silence, shame and social taboos. There is a lack of mobility, freedom, and access to normal activities and services.
Social practices and perception denying menstruation as a normal physiological phenomenon, lack of practical knowledge and awareness about the maintenance of personal hygiene and services including affordability and availability of sanitary napkins plays a key role in depriving girls of the maintenance of good MHM and creates barriers to adolescent girls for their rights to health and dignity. Public schools in Nepal, where most of the girls spend one forth of their days is not gender friendly, doesn’t provide privacy and supplementary facilities such as water supply, space for washing, cleaning and changing. Nevertheless, the good MHM is more than just water and disposal facilities and requires addressing the core practical dimension of raising awareness and availability as well as affordability of user-friendly sanitary napkins.
Taking these factors into consideration, BNMT Nepal has started an initiative in creating awareness amongst school students and teachers as well as FCHVs and mother groups. We are currently conducting pilot programmes in three public schools of three different VDCs of Morang District. The schools where the programme is being carried out are: Shree Durga Higher Secondary School, Majhare; Shree Prajatantra Secondary School, Bhaudaha and Shree Arniko Higher Secondary School, Rajghat.
At present, we are conducting orientation to students from class 7 to 10 and teachers as well. One teacher has been designated as a focal point for providing support to students during school hours. In addition to the support provided at schools, Mother groups and Female Community Health Volunteers have also been provided orientation. The next step of this initiative will be providing to know how in preparing sajilo napkins made with locally available low cost materials to students, mothers groups and community health volunteers.
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