The ministry of Education last week launched a menstrual reader to help teenage girls improve their hygiene.
The reader, titled, Understanding and managing menstruation, is a 50 page booklet divided into three sections to help girls learn about menstruation and how to manage it. Representing the Education minister, the assistant commissioner for Teacher Education in the ministry, Dr Jane Egau, said the reader was intended to keep students in school.
“The reader is an initiative to provide information to pupils on understanding menstruation and managing it well, particularly to beginners in order to keep them in school,” Dr Egau said.
She was speaking at the launch of the first menstrual hygiene and management conference held under the theme, ‘break the silence on menstruation; keep girls in school,’ at Imperial Royale hotel on August 14. The conference was called to raise awareness on the impact of poor menstrual management, advocate for policy review and develop strategies for operationalizing existing policies.
The meeting was called out of concern for the large number of rural girls who drop-out of school at the onset of menstruation. UNICEF estimates that one in 10 menstruating girls skip school for four to five days or finally drops out completely. Those who persist lose at least 13 learning days every school term.
“Many girls lack the ability to manage it because of myths and misconceptions such as a girl being regarded impure make them to be stigmatized. This is made worse because of the lack of privacy in sanitary practice at schools where girls and boys share bathrooms and washrooms,” Egau said.
In a move to encourage girls in rural schools to stay in school after puberty, different organizations have engaged in the production and distribution of reusable pads. These cost between Shs 300 to 500 per month, compared to the Shs 1800-15,000 for non-reusable pads.