12.1.3 Menstrual hygiene management
Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is the management of monthly menstrual periods by women and adolescent girls using a clean material to absorb or collect menstrual blood. It is essential that this material can be changed in privacy and as often as necessary for the duration of the menstrual period. MHM includes using soap and water for washing the body as required and having access to facilities to dispose of or wash used menstrual pads and towels.
In Ethiopia, as in many parts of the developing world, MHM is one of the critical challenges facing adolescent schoolgirls. Poor facilities for MHM in most schools of Ethiopia has been shown to cause worry and humiliation, contribute to monthly absenteeism and lead to poor performance (Sommer et al, 2013).
The following facilities should be provided for adequate MHM provision in schools:
- girls’ latrines should be in a separate location from boys’ latrines
- individual cubicles should be fitted with doors that close properly
- disposal facilities should be available for used disposable MHM products and washing facilities for reusable products
- handwashing facilities and soap should be provided adjacent to the latrines
- school offices should have MHM products available for emergency use.