Knowledge, Attitude and Practices towards Menstrual Hygiene among Government and Private School Girls
KAP towards menstrual hygiene in school girls
Menstruation is a normal physiological process unique to females. Pre-menarche is characterized by physiological, cognitive, and psychological transitions which may be initiated from the midst of their second decade. The onset of puberty/ menstruation in girls tends to change their role in society. Overall inadequate awareness levels accompanied by socio-cultural taboos and prevailing myths and misconceptions about menarche and menstruation have played havoc on human society.
Objective:To diagnose and compare the prevailing level ofknowledge, attitude, and practices of adolescent girls studying in government and private schoolstowards menstrual hygiene and management.
Methods: This Analytical and cross-sectional study was conducted at Government Jouhar Girls High School and Shiblee Grammar School System, Gulberg Branch (private) Faisalabad. A self-administered survey-based questionnaire was developed. Prior formal written approval from school authorities was followed by the pre-planned scheduled visits, explaining the purpose of the study, assuring confidentiality of acquired information, and self-administration of survey-based questionnaires.
Results:The results indicated that the mean age at menarches of the girls was 13.69±0.95 years. A relatively more percentage of government (59.6%) school respondents followed by private school respondents (57.1%) had satisfactory knowledge about their age of first menarche (p = 0.806). Motivated by the socio-cultural taboos and /or fear or shame a majority of government (59.6%) and private school respondents (57.1%) had satisfactory knowledge about their age of first menarche (p = 0.806). A strong prevalence of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) was found in private school girls 87(49.2%) and 21(11.9%), followed by respective percentages of 78(43.8%), 16(9.0%) amongst the government school respondents who recorded their responses as agreed and strongly agreed about the development of reproductive tract infection in the post-menstruation period. As far as the adoption of hygienic practices is concerned a relatively high percentage of government school 28(15.7%) followed by private school 14(7.9%) girls strongly disagreed about changing their absorbent material on daily basis. The development of skin abrasions like rashes, itching, and urinary tract infection was found in a relatively high proportion amongst the government school girls 30(16.9%) followed by private school respondents 18(10.2%) in the post-menstruation period. A most common and alarming unhygienic practice prevalent amongst the government and private school girls was the reuse of absorbent cloth, who responded as agreed and strongly agreed in respective terms as 43(24.2%), 22(12.4%), and 69(39%) and 28(15.8%).
Conclusions: The study concluded that the persistent myths, misconceptions, socio-cultural taboos, and unhygienic practices i.e.use of old clothes as absorbent, reuse of absorbent material, and delaying tendency of changing absorbent, amongst the adolescent school girls of government and private institutes which may pose direct adverse health and life quality concerns for the female Pakistani community. The current situation calls for active participatory contributions from education communities to initiate various communication and awareness campaigns regarding pre-menarche knowledge and menstruation management which may aid to strengthen and transform their role as a significant representative of society.
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