KNOWLEDGE ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES OF MENSTRUAL HYGIENE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
This chapter examined the background of the study, problem statement, significance of the study, the main objectives, specific objectives, the research questions, and the conceptual framework of the study.
The onset of menstruation is one of the most significant milestones in a woman‟s life (Polat et al., 2009). Menstrual hygiene which is defined as the effective management of menstrual bleeding by females, is a principal aspect of reproductive health, that if not handled properly could facilitate infections of the urinary tract, vaginal thrush and pelvic inflammatory diseases, along with bad odour, unclean garments and extreme shame, causing infringement on the girl’s‟ dignity (Oche et al., 2012).
Worldwide, approximately 52% of the females are of reproductive age; hence menstruation is part of their normal life. Menstrual hygiene therefore is a fundamental aspect of basic hygienic practices (House et al., 2012). 56% of the girls are in and out of school and do not receive any information about menstruation (UNICEF, 2014). In India, for the absorption of menstrual blood, 88% used cloth, 4% used cotton wool, 7% sanitary pads while 3% used ash. In Nepal 75% of the adolescent secondary school girls do not have any idea about what material to use to absorb the flow (Water Aid, 2013). 23% of the adolescent girls in rural areas of India, having their period are one of the reasons to quit school. Nonetheless, not much attention is paid to the specific health needs of the girl‟s (Nagar et al., 2011).
In Africa about 1 in 10 school age adolescent girls absent themselves from school during periods or drop out at puberty because of lack of private, clean and hygienic sanitation facilities in schools (UNICEF, 2014). In Nigeria 91 % of the adolescent girls were aware of menstruation before starting their periods, their use of sanitary protection material was low at
27.6 % and 64.4 % used pieces of cloth and rags, 25% use nothing, and typically isolate themselves during menstruation and 11% of girls in Nigeria change their menstrual cloths once a day. (Abera Y, 2014). 83% of girls in Burkina Faso and 77% in Niger have no place at school to change their sanitary materials (Iliyasu Z, 2012). All the above indicates poor knowledge, attitude and practice as far as menstrual hygiene is concerned.
In Nigeria like most resource limited countries, menstruation, though a natural physiological process has been and still dealt with secrecy (Mahon and Fernandes, 2010). Majorly this is because of cultural and traditional taboos associated with sexuality and reproductive health. Cultural beliefs and norms, the physical infrastructure and socio- economic circumstances influence the practices associated with menstrual hygiene, some of which when coupled with lack of or inadequate knowledge are responsible for notably high rate of school absenteeism, along with withdrawal from social activities, illness, poor reproductive health and infections of adolescent girls in Nigeria (Jarrah and Kamel, 2012).
Although menstruation is highly valued and significant for womanhood, still very few studies have found positive experiences towards menstruation in girls.
Unpublished reports at some Secondary School in Ebonyi indicate that the challenge of menstrual hygiene is mostly manifested through school absenteeism of adolescent girls and the awareness of these school girls has not been investigated. This is worsened by lack of efforts by individual teachers and parents to facilitate menstruating girls through provision of information and advice hence making menstrual hygiene a difficult topic to talk about. The school has inadequate water and sanitation facilities hence girls have difficulty in managing menstruation while at school. Poor menstrual hygiene affects the psychosocial wellbeing of girls for example increased stress levels, fear and embarrassment, and social exclusion during menstruation that impact negative on their education and social life (Sanyal et al., 2008).
Despite efforts by non – governmental organizations and other individuals who have tried to provide sanitary materials to some school going adolescent girls, expansion of sanitation facilities and the Nigerian education system that promotes menstrual hygiene through health education programs, menstrual hygiene is still one of the biggest challenges especially among under privileged adolescent school girls.
Poor hygienic practices can lead to various gynaecological problems in the reproductive life of girls, accompanied by discomfort, smelling and embarrassment among others. This makes menstrual hygiene crucial in an attempt to assist a girl child as far education and the future is concerned therefore this study seeks to investigate the menstrual hygiene related knowledge, attitude and practices among the adolescent girls between SS1- SS3 at Ebonyi secondary school
This research work is significant for the following reasons
This research breaks the silence on Menstrual Hygiene by creating awareness on the topic and the impact it has on adolescent secondary school girls, exploring and sharing lessons of the management aspects and promoting integration of Menstrual Health Management in health and hygiene sectors of the Ministry of Health and Health related Nongovernmental organization.
Provide information that strengthens preventive programs that promote women‟s sanitary health and also this study adds to the existing body of knowledge as far as menstrual hygiene is concerned.
This study discusses ways of supporting the sanitary campaign for women and girls, by informing the society of need for females‟ access to appropriate, decent, affordable and quality health care, information and related services.
Also this research critically studies an issue that faces every woman in every society in the world over including ours (International Health Sciences University); with the aim of providing viable information for managing menstrual hygiene in girls and women at large.
And finally, this work would serve as reference material for future researchers who intend to carry out researches that are related to this one in particular. A lot of information can be sourced from this work and they can be further improved on as well.
To assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls between SS1- SS3 at Ebonyi secondary school so as to adopt interventions to promote adequate menstrual hygiene.
- To determine the level of knowledge of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls between SS1- SS3 at Ebonyi secondary school between September and November 2016.
- To examine the attitude of menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls between SS1- SS3 at Ebonyi secondary school between September and November 2016.
- To identify the practices of adolescent girls between S1-S4 towards menstrual hygiene at Ebonyi secondary school between September and November 2016.
- What is the level of knowledge of adolescent girls between S1-S4 towards menstrual hygiene at Ebonyi secondary school.
- What is attitude of adolescent girls between S1-S4 towards menstrual hygiene at Ebonyi secondary school.
- What are the practices of adolescent girls between S1-S4 towards menstrual hygiene at Ebonyi secondary school.