THE KNOWLEDGE, ALTITUDE AND PRACTICE ON MENSTRUAL HYGIENE AMONGST YOUNG GIRLS AND WOMEN IN MOLYKO-BUEA COMMUNITY
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In many parts of the world, menstrual hygiene management remains taboo in many communities. In African, cultural beliefs about menstruation like food taboo and untouchability have a negative impact on the young girl and woman’s dignity, the health and education of the young girl and the daily activities of the woman can be altered. The objective of the study was to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of menstrual hygiene among young girls and women in the Molyko community Buea.
A cross-sectional design was used in the community to have a sample size of 90 participants. Self-administration questionnaires were used to obtain information from participants. Analyses were done using excel. 73.5% of the total respondents had a good knowledge of menstrual hygiene while 26.5% had little or no idea.
About 64.4% indicated that a lady is never dirty when menstruating While about 16.7% isolate themself when menstruating. 56.6% uses napkins for menstruation while 26.7% uses disposable sanitary pads. 73.3% of the respondents still use water and soap to clean the genital (douching).
Although knowledge on menstrual hygiene is good, there is still more to be done on attitude and practice. Communication campaigns along with frequent reinforcement of school health education programs.
Menstruation is therefore a naturally occurring physiological phenomenon in adolescent girls and per-menopausal women (Biran A et al 20122015). According to WHO and UNICEF Menstrual Hygiene Management (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.
Globally about 52% of the female population is of reproductive age, meaning menstruation is part of their normal life and menstrual hygiene is, therefore, an essential part of basic hygienic practices (House, et al Mahon & Cavill, 2012) Menstruation necessitates the availability of material resources to absorb or collect menstrual blood, facilitate personal hygiene and dispose of waste, ideally with adequate privacy (Sahin M. 2015).
Women and girls in low-income settings have low awareness of hygienic practices and lack culturally appropriate materials for menstrual hygiene management (MHM) practices (Sumpter C, et al, 2011; Arumugam et al, 2014).
Menstruation, though a natural process, has been, and still is, dealt with in secrecy (Warenius, et al 2007; Patkar et al, 2004; Mahon et al 2010). Mainly this is due to cultural taboos related to sexuality and reproductive health. This demonstrates a poor knowledge and information about reproductive functions and reproductive health and associated problems amongst adolescents (Warenius et al, 2007; Mahon et al 2010). Adolescence is understood as a stage in the lives of females, which indicates their transition from girlhood to womanhood.
This also constitutes an important milestone, which is marked by the onset of menarche (Dhingra, et al 2009; Nagar & Aimol, 2011). From this stage onwards until menopause, reproductive health and menstrual hygiene are important aspects in the lives of females.
There is however not much attention paid to the youth and women-specific health needs, notwithstanding that doing so would lay a good foundation for their physical and mental well-being and their ability to cope with the heavy demands of reproductive health later in life (Narayan, et al 2001; Nagar et al, 2011; House, Mahon, et al 2012). In a worst-case scenario, the latter may include unwanted pregnancies, urinary tract infections (UTI), and pelvic inflammatory diseases (MoH, 2000; Omidvar et al 2010; Narayan et al, 2001).
Important aspects of reproductive health services, which include information dissemination, guidance, and support, are challenging responsibilities for the health care and education systems in Cameroon. Warenius et al. (2007) also found that gender norms and values related to culture and religion are influential barriers to communication on reproductive health issues among youth in Cameroon society.
Menstrual hygiene, which refers to the effective management of menstrual bleeding by women and girls, is an important aspect of reproductive health, which if not handled too appropriately can cause infections of the urinary tract, pelvic inflammatory diseases and vaginal thrush, as well as bad odor, soiled garments and ultimately shame, leading to infringement on the girls’ dignity (Oche et al, 2012).
1.2. Problem Statement
Menstrual hygiene is an issue that every woman of reproductive age is faced with in Cameroon, BUEA’s new layout community. Youths and women in Cameroon are insufficiently informed about reproductive health in general and in particular about the process of menstruation as well as the physical and psychological changes associated with puberty and coming of age.
In Cameroon, the issue of menstruation is rarely mentioned publicly, due to cultural taboos. Furthermore there is no mandate in the Cameroonian educational institutions to help girls in managing their menstruation. Neither are there gender-friendly school toilets nor is there readiness on the part of the teachers to assist menstruating girls through the provision of advice or information (Warenius et al, 2007).
Due to the lack of knowledge on menstrual hygiene and cultural background surrounding menstruation in Cameroon, most women get infected at the end of their periods. Thus it is necessary for more research to be done in other to educate the masses.
1.3 Goal Of Study
With the result gotten from the study, it may affect the community positively in such a way that educating the community about menstrual hygiene will help reduce menstrual infection in the community and improve knowledge practices on sanitary
1.4.1 General Objective
The purpose of this study is to assess the Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice on Menstrual Hygiene Amongst the Young girls and women age 12 and above Molyko-Buea Community.
1.4.2 Specific Objective
- To assess the knowledge of Young girls and women in menstrual hygiene management.
- To assess the attitude of Young girls and women toward menstrual hygiene.
- To evaluate the practice of Young girls and women on menstrual hygiene.
1.4.3 Research Questions
- Are Young girls and women knowledgeable enough on menstrual hygiene?
- What attitude do Young girls and women possess toward menstrual hygiene?
- What practices do Young girls and women undertake on menstrual hygiene?