Across Uganda, the unique needs of women and girls are often overlooked-particularly their menstrual hygiene management. When a disaster hits, people, especially girls who menstruate often do not have access to menstrual materials such as sanitary pads and underwear in a context that lacks clean water and waste disposal systems.

Stigma, cultural practices and restrictions placed on girls who menstruate further exacerbate an already difficult situation. In every region of Uganda, we need to remove remaining taboos on menstruation so we can contribute to an inclusive dialogue about how menstrual hygiene management can be improved before disasters occur.

Menstrual hygiene management is an essential body of knowledge for communities to ensure better systems to support people who menstruate.

The menstrual cycle is at the center of girls’ reproductive health as the biological process is at the center of reproduction and controls many of the body’s hormones, resulting in a period or pregnancy. Understanding one’s menstrual cycle is an important precondition to make an informed decision about bodies. In fundamental ways, menstruation forms the starting point to a reproductive health life journey. For this reason, menstrual hygiene management needs to be accessible in all schools and discussed as a public health priority as opposed to dangerous secrecy handling of menstruation.

LIDEISA supports school girls to uphold their dignity by ensuring access to LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads, underwear and supportive materials such as soap and buckets for washing. Before, during and after menstruation periods, we need to expand our work with water, sanitation and hygiene sector partners to ensure that everyone has access to safe latrines and washing facilities with water and soap for changing, washing, and drying reusable sanitary pads.

The lack of knowledge and education on menstrual hygiene management, cultural beliefs around menstruation and anxiety around blood stains can prevent girls who menstruate from actively participating in their communities and going to school. We work with school managements and communities to tackle harmful cultural and social norms, taboos and misconceptions around menstruation.

Much greater collective efforts are needed to ensure that all school girls who menstruate can access information that empowers them to manage their menstruation with dignity without interruptions to their education attainment. Comprehensive menstrual hygiene management education needs to be scaled up, as it contributes to awareness about menstruation, body literacy and is an important part of sexual and reproductive health which every normal girl experiences in their lives. Despite progress in this area, there is more to be done to deliver accurate menstrual hygiene management education  information which we are undertaking.

Maintaining Dignity During Menstruation

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