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This topic assessment of adolescent girls age 10-19 years knowledge and importance of menstrual hygiene carried out in Bilingual Grammar school Molyko Buea with the objectives of; To assess adolescent girls (age 10-19 years) knowledge on menstrual hygiene in Bilingual Grammar School Molyko Buea, To assess adolescent girls (age 10-19 years) knowledge on the importance of menstrual hygiene in Bilingual Grammar School Molyko Buea,

To identify the challenges faced by adolescent girls (age 10-19 years) in maintaining good menstrual hygiene in Bilingual Grammar School (BGS) Molyko Buea was a cross sectional descriptive study design. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection with a sample size of 384 adolescent students, the study lasted from October 2022 to April 2023. Data was analyzed using micro soft excel 2010 and result were presented using charts and tables.

The major findings from the research are as follows based on objectives one which is knowledge on menstrual hygiene adolescent girls have limited knowledge on menstrual hygiene. Base on objective two the participants have knowledge on the importance of menstrual hygiene. Base on objective three, the participants could bring out challenges faced during practice of menstrual hygiene.

Conclusively, the participants had limited knowledge on menstrual hygiene, they had knowledge on the importance of menstrual hygiene and could even bring out challenges faced in practicing menstrual hygiene.


1.1 Background of the study   

We have pieces of information and quite a few theories. One of these theories being that in ancient times women did use a form of tampon. It’s nothing like what we have in 21st century though. Theories suggest that ancient Egyptians used a ‘tampon’ made of papyrus fibres (Chung, 2021). It’s also suggested that Ancient Greeks used a wood wrapped in lint! These are theories but it gives you an idea of the inventive methods used to control menstrual flow.

The feminine hygiene industry as we know it started around WW1. Solider bandages made from Cellucotton were used by Nurses when in the field (Norton D,2011). They found the material highly absorbent. Cue the launch of sanitary napkins which replaced reusable pads. Tampons arrived on the scene in the 1930’s. Side note, menstrual cups also made an appearance in the 1930s.

Whilst the modern day sanitary pad is miles away from the first ‘sanitary napkin’, the commercial tampon hasn’t significantly evolved (Tagney J, 2015). There have been noticeable developments over the years. Read on for the one that I found most shocking. Historians believe that Ancient Egyptians made tampons out of softened papyrus, while Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, wrote that Ancient Greek women used to make tampons by wrapping bits of wood with lint. Some women were also thought to use sea sponges as tampons (a practice still in use today) (Norton D,2011).

Women use rags as makeshift pads, leading to the term “on the rag” becoming slang for menstruation. During the medieval period there is a lot of religious shame surrounding menstruation. Blood is thought to contain the body’s toxins and excesses, hence the use of bloodletting as a medical practice. Menstrual blood is considered dirty, and some even believe that drinking it will cause leprosy. Another common belief? Burning a toad and wearing its ashes around your neck will ease cramps.

The word “period” comes into use as a term for menstruation (Fiandz et al.,2019). A man named Earl Haas invents the modern tampon: cotton, applicator, and all. Haas gets the idea from a female friend who manages her period by plugging her vaginal canal with a sponge. The key invention for Haas is the applicator, which allows women to insert tampons without touching their vaginas or menstrual blood. As vaginas (particularly menstruating ones) still carry cultural and religious taboos, many women feel uncomfortable engaging with their private parts, so the applicator is a big deal (Fiandz et al.,2019).

Menstruation is a naturally occurring physiological phenomenon in adolescent girls and per-menopausal women (Biran et al.,2012). Menstruation is a periodic discharge of blood and tissues from the starts from puberty to menopause and occurs on an average of 28 days when a woman is not pregnant (Snilstveit et al., 2016).

According to WHO and UNICEF Menstrual hygiene (MHM) involves’ Women and adolescent girls using a clean menstrual management material to absorb or collect blood that can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of the menstruation period, using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials like commercial Sanitary pad, tampons, reusable cloth pads etc. Despite being an inevitable and natural process, most societies like Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon consider menstruation a taboo.

Many of the norms and stigma associated with the event are based on discriminatory gender roles and cultural restrictions, making it a silent and invisible issue (United Nations 1994). As a result, it prevents many adolescent girls from receiving proper menstrual health and hygiene-related information and education. Furthermore, it also exposes them to challenges of managing menstruation and menstrual blood properly and forces them to develop their ways of managing it depending on existing traditional and cultural beliefs, level of knowledge on menstruation, and personal preferences (United Nations 1994).

Inadequate menstrual hygiene (MHM) among adolescent girls (10–19 years) is a public health problem, mainly in low and middle-income countries (Sommer, M.; Sahin, M, 2013). With over 8.6 billion adolescent girls (8% of the world’s population),the issue of menstrual hygiene by virtue of its magnitude is an issue of global concern. India is home to 243 million adolescents, which accounts for a quarter of the country’s total population (WHO,2011).

India has over 355 million menstruating women and girls, but millions of women across the country face uncomfortable and undignified experience with MHM (Geertz et al., 2018). More than 80 percent of these adolescents reside in the Asian and African continents and just about 20% of those living in low- and middle-income countries practice good menstrual hygiene (UNICEF,2018).

In Cameroon , there is little documentation on menstrual hygiene practice . WHO (2020) reported a prevalence of 40% in urban areas and 11% in rural area (WHO,2020). E.E Esienumoh et al, 2020 on determining menstruation and menstrual hygiene knowledge among secondary school students as a basis for planning an appropriate health promotion intervention.

A cross-sectional study conducted in selected urban and rural secondary schools in Cross River State, Nigeria. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, 1,006 adolescent female students from junior secondary to senior secondary in eight schools were surveyed. The research protocol was approved by the Ethical Review Board of the Cross-River State, Ministry of Health. Of the 1,006 respondents, 600(59.6%) were urban-based while 406 (40.4%) were rural-based. Most 556 (55.3%) were from public schools while 450(44.7%) were from private schools. Mean age was 14.2±2.71 while age at menarche was 10.95±4.10.

Age at menarche in urban schools was 11.1±0.157 while that of rural schools was 10.71±0.239. On knowledge, 230(56.7%) rural-based adolescent female students had a significantly poor knowledge of menstruation and menstrual hygiene practices compared with their urban-based counterparts 253 (42.2%).

Majority 435(72.5%) in urban and 327(80.5%) in rural schools obtained information about menstruation from their mothers. Similarly, 407(67.8%) in urban schools and 318 (78.3%) from rural schools were informed about menstrual hygiene by their mothers. There is an urban-rural gap in knowledge of menstruation and menstrual hygiene. Parental role in menstrual hygiene education is critical.

This research will be making use of the health access livelihood framework. This specific framework will be utilised since it is developed for resource-poor settings and aims to explore people’s access to health care (Obrist et al, 2017). Furthermore, this framework allows for a holistic investigation of access and can be applied to the specific issue of MHM in a straightforward manner.

And also An ecological perspective guiding the present study, which was originally proposed by Bronfenbrenner in 2017 in his human development framework (Bronfenbrenner, 2017). The ecological perspective is designed to draw attention to the dynamic interrelations among various personal and environmental factors in health (Mclaren & Hawes, 2015).

In health promotion, the ecological framework draws attention to individual and environmental determinants of behavior at different levels of influences (Mclaren & Hawe, 2015). Based on this framework it is suggested that the provision of MHM spaces will result in better living outcomes and that individual characteristics, support of family and school/community environment will play a role in academic and other life achievements.

1.2 Problem Statement

Menstrual hygiene is becoming a public health problem among adolescents age10-19 years. Due to its indirect effect on school absenteeism and gender discrepancy, poor menstrual hygiene and management may seriously hamper the realization of universal education and MDG-3 on gender equality and women empowerment (Vashisht, 2018). More than 80 percent of these adolescents reside in the Asian and African continents and just about 20% of those living in low- and middle-income countries practice good menstrual hygiene (UNICEF,2018).

In Cameroon, WHO (2020) reported a prevalence of good menstrual hygiene practice as of 40% in urban areas and 11% in rural area (WHO,2020). In adolescents who experienced menstruation for the first time, menstrual hygiene (MHM) is constrained by practical, social, economic and cultural factors such as the expense of commercial sanitary pads, lack of water and latrine facilities, lack of private rooms for changing sanitary pads, and limited education about the facts of menstrual hygiene.

Adolescents enters puberty unprepared and information they receive is often selective and surrounded by taboos. In many curricula, there is emphasis on the reproductive process but not on the practical issues (WHO, 2018). On personal experience, the researcher was a victim of this constrains as during her time of early menses in secondary school.

Where she will always turn to be isolated, stained and rubbed with menses, due to limited knowledge on how to practice menstrual hygiene during menses. on observations in several occasions seeing how my school mates stayed away from school with the excuse that they are menstruating and avoiding to get stained in class. It is in this regard the researcher was motivated to carry out the study, assessment of adolescent age 10-19years knowledge and importance of menstrual hygiene at Bilingual Grammar school Molyko BUEA”.

1.3 Research Objective

1.3.1 General Objective

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