What you need to know:
- Shockingly, the people shunning this topic include our parents who have left the role of educating us on menstrual hygiene to teachers.
- Knowledge of cleaning the genital areas and use of safe menstrual products is the first step in maintaining good hygiene.
Menstruation is a normal biological process for girls and women of child-bearing age. However, the onset of menses comes with a lot of challenges and stigma that make many young girls vulnerable.
Few are willing to talk about menstruation openly. Shockingly, the people shunning this topic include our parents who have left the role of educating us on menstrual hygiene to teachers.
In our homes and villages, retrogressive cultures and notions about menstruation and poverty are responsible for the many challenges facing the girl child.
These hurdles have make it almost impossible for them to practice good menstrual hygiene.
Lack of sanitary towels is a big challenge with 65 percent of women and girls unable to afford them.
In poor families, girls suffer most, and end up using rags and mattress stuffing, risking infections. Statistics indicate that millions of girls and women abandon their daily commitments due to lack of sanitary towels.
In rural areas, especially in Coast and North-eastern regions, it is almost normal for girls to miss school for more than three days due to lack of these towels.
Maintaining good hygiene
There are also challenges with public sanitation facilities. The national government and NGOs are doing a good job providing school girls with pads but more needs to be done. The programme run by the Education ministry, for instance, benefits only a few girls but what about the rest?
Instead of condoms, what if both national and county governments provided sanitary pads to girls and women for free?
Menstrual hygiene is a basic human right. Parents, teachers and other stakeholders should educate girls on menstrual hygiene.
Knowledge of cleaning the genital areas and use of safe menstrual products is the first step in maintaining good hygiene.
Changing sanitary towels every four hours and washing hands are small but significant steps towards ensuring good hygiene during menstruation.
Additionally, fighting menstrual stigma and creating public awareness are also key.
Purity Kinuthia, 20, studies communication and media at Maseno University.
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