#Period Paath: Lets Break The Vicious Circle Of Menstrual Taboos Lets Talk About Menstruation

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To

Commissioner And Directorate Of School Education,

Government of Telangana

sub:  To assess the knowledge and the practices of menstrual hygiene, restrictions among school going adolescent girls during menstruation through questionnaire and how to minimise and reduce

Respected sir/madam.

To assess the knowledge on menstrual hygiene practices and restrictions i have selected  adolescent school going girls  in Hyderabad Jawahar Nagar Ameerpet no.1 school. One hundred of the 9th, 10th standards were purposely selected for the study. A pre-designed, and structured questionnaire was used in the study. The data collection technique was a personal interview of the study. Clear instructions were made about filling the questionnaire they were asked to mark every item without omitting any item and no time limit was imposed.

Results: Among 100 students only 10% of the girls were prepared for first menstruation remaining 90% of the girls were totally unprepared for first menstruation. Only 18% of the girls got primary source of information before menarche from their friends. 10% of the girls got primary source of information before menarche from mothers. Remaining 72% of the girls were didn’t get any primary source of information before menarche. Majority of the girls in the study were not aware of the cause of menstruation and from which organ does menstrual blood come from. 90% of the girls were strongly disagree not to discuss the topic of periods at school with boys and girls. Remaining 10% of the girls agree. Most of the girls in the study said that it is important to buy sanitary pads without seen and they feel uncomfortable to talk about periods. Majority of the girls are using sanitary pads during menstruation and they dispose in a dustbin. All the girls had toilet facility at home and at schools and they are comfortable to change their pad at school. Cleaning of external genitals was practiced by 80% of the girls. Three fourth of the girls were practiced various restrictions during menstruation like attend religious functions, not go to school, not played outside, avoid sour foods, don’t enter into kitchen, don’t go to temples, don’t touch holy books, new dresses, pickles and trees etc.

Menstruation and menstrual practices still face many social, cultural and religious restrictions which are a big barrier in the path of menstrual hygiene management. Menstruation is a normal physiological process that has been riddled with negative connections. Menstruation is a natural process but it is considered as unclean and dirty in the Indian society. Isolation of the menstruating girls and restrictions being imposed on them in the family have reinforced a negative attitude towards this phenomenon.  Good hygienic practices such as the use of sanitary pads and adequate washing of the genital area are essential during menstruation. Many girls experiencing restrictions on cooking, worshipping, and eating certain foods. These restrictions were due to the overall perception of the people regarding menstruation as they consider it dirty and polluting.

Recommendations and conclusion:

From the above, it was clear that education plays a key role in menstruation hygiene management. Majority of the families did not allow boys to discuss such topic as they were not important for their future, so the boys receive little information about menstruation from friends and internet which is inaccurate and incomplete. We can change their perception and make them aware by educating both men and women regarding menstrual hygiene management. Education about menstruation is particular very important, as the majority of the girls in this study indicated feeling unprepared at the onset of menstruation not aware cause of menstruation, not aware from which organ does the menstrual blood come from and practising restrictions during menstruation.

Education on menstrual hygiene management should start at an early age, before girls reach puberty. When girls are sufficiently informed beforehand, they will be better prepared emotionally for the experience of menstruation and have fewer negative reactions or concerns. Since girls attitudes and ways of thinking change during adolescence, menstrual education needs to be on-going process.

Government of Telangana need to take proper measurements that implementing a course on menstruation and hygiene management. Teachers should be educated and trained to impart knowledge about menstruation and menstrual hygiene management among students and parents they need to have special classes and workshops programs Formal as well as informal channels of communication such as mothers, sisters and friends need to be emphasised for the delivery of information. It is very important that the mother be armed with the appropriate information on reproductive health, so that she can give this knowledge to her growing children.

There is strong need to address issues like the restrictions which are imposed or practiced by the adolescent school girls in the rural and urban areas.

Teachers should educate girls about menstrual health management and its link to their health. They should also make girls aware of how to dispose used menstrual products at home and in schools and about the consequences of throwing them in open or flushing them in toilets.

Non government organisations should come forward to educate rural and urban areas students about menstruation, menstrual hygiene management, importance of toilets at homes, hand washing before and after use of pad, diseases relate to reproductive tract due to poor hygiene.

Dustbins with proper lids should be placed in the toilets. If possible incinerations should be installed at homes also. Disposal bags should provide by the government and distribute freely among schools and institutions bags can have colour indication by this it is safe for rag pickers as it does not expose them to any disease-causing pathogens.

So there is big need to encourage adolescents and parents to practice safe and hygiene behaviours.

Thanking you,

Regards

Bodduna Priyanka,

Social Mobilizer,

Room to Read India Trust,

Hyderabad – Telangana.

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