By Juliet Rogers
In accordance with research, poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) affects
the dignity, health and well-being of schoolgirls in low
and middle income countries (LMIC), and requires a
range of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) interventions. Many girls in LMIC cannot afford sanitary pads and resort to impromptu items like old cloth or
cotton wool, or use a minimal number of pads, which
leak, smell and chafe, causing them stigma, shame and
discomfort. The use of unhygienic cloths for menstruation is associated with reproductive tract infection
(RTI) symptoms, requiring verification. Qualitative
studies show that poor MHM reduces a girl’s ability to
engage in class and may cause school absence and
dropout. School absence contributes to girls’ life-chances by lowering performance, increasing grade
repetition, pregnancy risk and dropout. However, no
strong association has been found between absence and
menstrual intervention to date, and none have
examined school dropout. Remaining in school acts as a
‘social vaccine’, protecting girls against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reproductive harms.
In this connection, as Manushi Chhillar once said: “The use of sanitary pads and the dos and don’ts should be discussed with openness so as to make a hygienic and healthy life for the women.”
It’s based on the above brief background that Juliet Rogers and Melvin Sharty were asked by an anonymous humanitarian who happens to be a lady, to implement a sanitary pad distribution project at Kroo Bay Community on the 8th October, 2019.
Three classes (6, 5 and 4) at the Kroo Bay Community Primary School and two classes at the Cummings Junior Secondary School (form 3 and part of form 2) benefitted from the project.
As it has been written:
“Condoms should be sold and pads should be given for free. Sex is a choice, menstruation isn’t. Young girls without money are suffering out there.”