Menstrual Hygiene: Knowledge and Practice among Adolescent School Girls of Saoner, Nagpur District
Background: Menstruation is generally considered as unclean 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. There is a substantial lacuna in the knowledge about menstruation among adolescent girls. Good hygienic practices such as the use of sanitary pads and adequate washing of the genital area are essential during menstruation. Menstrual hygiene and management will directly contribute to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG)-2 on universal education and MDG -3 on gender equality and women empowerment.
Aim and Objectives: To assess the knowledge and the practices of menstrual hygiene among rural and urban school going adolescent girls.
Materials and Methods: A community based, cross sectional study was conducted in January- March, 2011 on 387 school going girls. The present study was undertaken among adolescent school going girls in the field practice area of the Rural Health Unit and Training Centre, Saoner, in the Nagpur district. Three hundred and eighty seven girls of the 8th and 9th standards were purposively selected for the study. A pre-designed, pretestedand structured questionnaire was used in the study. The data collection technique was a personal interview of the study subjects.
Results: Only 36.95% of the girls were aware of menstruation before menarche. The major source of information about menstruation for them was found to be their mothers. More than three fourth of the girls in the study were not aware of the cause and the source of the bleeding. A majority of them had knowledge about the use of sanitary pads. The mean age of menarche in the study subjects was 12.85 ± 0.867 years; sanitary pads were used by 49.35% of the selected girls. The practice of the use of old clothes was reported in 45.74% of the subjects. Satisfactory cleaning of the external genitalia was practised by 33.85% of the girls. Three fourth of the study girls practised various restrictions during menstruation. Some menstrual hygiene indices have shown a significant difference in the rural and urban girls.
Conclusion: A variety of factors are known to affect menstrual behaviours, the most influential being economic status and residential status (urban and rural). Awareness regarding the need for information about healthy menstrual practices is very important. It is essential to design a mechanism to address and for the access of healthy menstrual knowledge.