Menstruation is one of the most important stages in a woman’s life it is a symptom of the beginning of adulthood and a sign that a woman is fertile and capable of giving birth after sexual intercourse. The timing of menarche is influenced by hormonal, genetic and environmental factors, especially nutritional status. Puberty in girls is the phase of transition from child to mature woman. One in eight girls can have her periods when she is 11 years or younger. It is important to realize that one out of two 13-year-old girls will probably be menstruating.
Menstrual Hygiene Management in backward societies and countries remains a Taboo, particularly in rural areas.
It’s a natural phenomenon but due to illiteracy, ignorance about religious teachings, poverty, socio-cultural barriers, unawareness regarding psychological health there’s not much discussion on this topic that results in negative outcomes. One of the main reasons behind the issue is that menstruation is considered in many societies including Pakistan a hidden and secret issue even in many societies it is not even discussed openly between mother and daughter. In many cultures, menstruation is being treated as unclean and embarrassing as people believed that it must remain hidden in communication.
The majority of girls in 3rd world countries cannot afford a monthly supply of feminine hygiene products. Women and girls in poor countries can’t afford sanitary pads, which would normally be needed to change around 3 times a day during menstruation.
Adolescent girls often face absentees from school and colleges due to issues linked with menstruation-cycles. The Post Menstrual Syndromes (PMS) includes abdominal cramps, headaches, fatigue and psychological factors like mood swings exacerbate due to poor facilities and lack of counseling, which results in monthly absenteeism, which can be as high as 20%. It is often the first step to dropping out of school completely.
One of the reasons behind the high drop-out records of girls from the school in Asia is linked with difficulty regarding menstruation management. They have poor access to sanitary products and they prefer staying at home during their periods, which results in complete dropout from the institution.
The problem also bothers the teachers’ performance during the monthly menstruation period. They either declare themselves sick or tend to go home after lectures as early as possible.
In schools and colleges, there is a lack of proper facilities for menstrual waste management, girls don’t know how to dispose it of properly especially during immediate need. They don’t have first-hand access to proper feminine hygiene products in outdoor, especially in schools.
The physical structure of a female is less immune to infections so the problems that a female has to face due to poor Menstrual management lead to Urinary tract infection, Uterine infection, Irritation, Leucorrhea, and Pelvic inflammatory diseases including unbearable cramps. whereas, psychological factors include anxiety and tension.
The importance of Menstrual Hygiene Management, an assessment survey was conducted in rural areas of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa in 2010, with the objective of initiating a project in four selected Union Councils of Mardan district. After a survey, it is planned to begin with basic pieces of training in government girls’ schools and colleges. In order to spread awareness messages among female students and teachers, information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials have also been distributed in the form of booklets.
There are still Not enough policies in place for implementation of proper menstrual hygiene management conditions in Pakistan but Integrated regional support program (IRSP) has been Training on Menstrual Hygiene Management Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Preparation the local people since the last decade. There is still more to contribute by the government and local bodies.
Progress in Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) needs to be monitored if we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring adequate water and sanitation for everyone. A recent report by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, “Innovations in WASH Impact Measures: Water and Sanitation Measurement Technologies and Practices to Inform the Sustainable Development Goals”, provides an overview of innovations in the monitoring of Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) impacts. The report includes ‘equity’ in sanitation, assessing whether menstruating women and girls are able to wash and change in privacy.