Adolescent Girls Information Needs regarding Menstrual Hygiene Management: The Sindh Experience
A comparative case study (rural vs. urban) in Sindh with data collected from both in school and out of school girls
The Sindh data revealed six key themes:
1) Menarche is generally experienced by girls as a traumatic event characterized by fear, distress and worry.
2) Menarche is associated with possibility of immediate marriage. Mothers and girls actively hide onset of menstrual periods from fathers and other male family members in order to avoid very early marriages.
3) Having prior knowledge about menarche normalized the process for some girls, leading to more positive experiences of the first menstrual period.
4) Girls’ knowledge of puberty and menstrual practices was rooted in local, cultural epistemology. However, some were skeptical of this knowledge and questioned it.
5) There are significant information needs, specifically around physiology of puberty and menstruation; recognition and relief of menstrual symptoms; appropriate menstrual hygiene and management practices; and social, physical, religious and dietary restrictions.
6) Water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools are inadequate to meet menstruating girls’ needs.
7) Participants identified a range of WASH and menstrual management resources to develop Girl-Friendly school facilities.