Menstruation, a natural process in womenâ€™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. Menstrual hygiene promotion is an indirect support to gender equality, national development, high literacy rate and MDGs accomplishment.
In January 2011 IRSP started its 3 years project funded by EU named as â€œPromoting Civil Society Participation in Water & Sanitation Governance in Pakistanâ€ where its 3rd expected results desired improved access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. The women staff of IRSP conducted hygiene sessions in its areas of intervention where menstrual hygiene has been taken into consideration at a very first time. Hygiene promoters and school hygiene club members have also been trained on hygiene promotion.
Sana, student of class 9, is one of the school hygiene club members. After getting training on Menstrual Hygiene Management She conveyed the message in her neighbourhood and friends. Kulsoom was one of her audience who is 17 years old girl belongs to far flung area of Bhakkar and married in village Bagho Banda Mardan. Belonging to the most under-developed area Being she never know the best practices of Menstrual Hygiene. In interview Kulsoom said that she used to throw the used sanitary cloths and pads in open but when Sana shared IRSPâ€™s booklet then she came to about proper practices of Menstrual Hygiene. She requested the staff to conduct a detailed session on menstrual hygiene management at her home where she will inform other of her neighbours to attend.
In Session at Kulsoomâ€™s house hygiene promoter focused Menstrual hygiene management and advised the girls in light of the messages written in booklet and her knowledge that how they can improve their practices. More booklets were distributed among the girls on request of hygiene club member. Sana the hygiene club member said that in start she was shy while discussing the MH this with her friends but now their welcoming attitude has enhanced my confidence.
After few months, in follow up visit, schools’ principal shared that she had observed two changes in the students; one they discuses their feminine hygiene related issues with teachers while they couldnâ€™t in previous and second they are able to take better care of themselves during menstruation than before.
This experience shows that school is the best place in Pakistan context from where you can start efforts for the most neglected part of hygiene i.e. Menstrual Hygiene Management. When the newly adult girls are trained on menstrual hygiene management then they are not only able to maintain their menstrual hygiene but also spreading this knowledge to their pair groups. The intervention in menstrual hygiene promotion is helpful in our targeted areas to:
Â· Reduce Dropout/Absenteeism of student
Â· Improve performance of students
Â· Reduce environmental degradation
Â· Reducing physical problems like Urinary tract infection, Uterine infection, Irritation, Lechorea, Discharge and Pelvic inflammatory diseases includes pains
Â· Reducing Psychological problems like tension and anxiety
Â· Reducing domestic problems like Medical expenses, lack of proper health facilities and less access to medication that results in restlessness as well as in economic and financial crisis in a family
Â· Reducing conflict between husband and wife