Menstruation is an unescapable important and normal part of human life. Despiternmenstruation being an advent of maturity and fertility in girls menstrual hygienernmanagement MHM has been perceived as taboo in different societies around the globe.rnSimilar challenges have been reported in Africa by many scholars despite it being anrnintegral part of the female gender. MHM remains unexplored among adolescent girls inrnKenya including Kitui County.
The overall objective of this study was to examinernknowledge attitudes and practices associated with menstrual hygiene management inrnMulundi sub-Location Kitui County. The specific objectives were to establish thernknowledge school-going girls have on menstrual hygiene management in Mulundi subLocation Kitui County to assess attitude towards menstruation among the school-goingrngirls in Mulundi sub-Location Kitui County and to examine the management practicesrnassociated with menstruation among school-going girls in Mulundi sub-Location KituirnCounty.
The study population encompassed 280-school going girls sampled from a targetrnpopulation of 900 girls using the Slovin 2013 equation. Probability sampling was employedrnwithin four 4 primary schools and three secondary schools. Seven 7 key informantsrnwho served closely with matrons were also involved in the study. Qualitative andrnquantitative data collection tools including questionnaires focused group discussions andrnkey informant interviews were employed to collect data. The quantitative data wasrnanalyzed using SPSS according to the study objectives. The qualitative data was reportedrnas verbatim quotes which suggest negative attitudes and stigma among the girls whornparticipated in the study. Quantitative data was presented in tabular form as numerals somernexpressed as percentages.
The study findings show that 95 68 of the sampled girls werernknowledgeable on matters of MHM. The study findings show that a percentage of 39.1rnof the information on menstrual hygiene came from parents. Teachers also played a role asrnthey contributed 33.2 in terms of availing knowledge on menstrual-related issues tornstudents. The results also indicate that 70 of the girls had a negative attitude towardsrnmenstrual flow. Menstrual management practices among the studied girls were stillrnunsatisfactory as 51 could not afford to buy sanitary pads. A sample constituting 61rn85 reported challenges of WASH facilitates.
The study findings reveal that 68 of the girls were knowledgeable about menarche andrnmenstruation. However 32 of girls without correct menstrual knowledge attributed thernstate to cultural taboos associated with menstruation. Some religions barred girls fromrnaccessing menstrual information. Not only did 32 of the girls lack knowledge aboutrnmenstruation but also about pre-menarche. The parents of the school-going girls 39.1rnprovided the majority of the information. As dads were typically prohibited fromrnaddressing matters affecting girls in many family structures moms made up a largerrnportion of the 39.1. This study also showed that menstruation was not adequatelyrnaddressed in government schools because it was not covered in any level of the curriculum.rnThe teachers contribution to MHM knowledge at 33.2 was still minimal and therncultures influence reduced its accuracy. 32 of people were unable to correctly definernmenstruation and MHM. Peers religious organizations and other sources made negligiblerncontributions to schoolgirls understanding about MHM and the material that was reportedrnwas false.rnGenerally despite the data privacy guarantee most of the respondents shied away fromrnparticipating in the survey as they termed it shameful. These study findings showed thatrnthe respondents girls had negative attitudes towards menstrual hygiene. The attitude of thernschool going girls towards the subject of menstruation was influenced by cultural beliefsrnand taboos.The teachers low input on menstrual knowledge suggests they equally shied from tacklingrnthe subject. A sample represented by 22 of the school-going respondents felt angry whenrnmenstruation caught them while at school. Further 47 of the 66 respondents felt ashamedrnwhen on menstruation suggesting low knowledge of the subject led to a poor attitude.rnSample equivalent to 40 of the learners reported an influence of traditional beliefs on thernlearners attitude. The use of unkind words to menstruating girls was reported to suggestrnlow knowledge which influenced attitude negatively.rnMenstrual hygiene practices involve the use of sanitary wear and cleaning practices duringrnmenstruation. The current menstrual practices by school-going girls were relatively good.rnamong the most used sanitary products were cotton wool sanitary pad tampon tissuernclothes and mattresses. A great number equivalent to 65 of the population usedrndisposable sanitary wear. However 14 and 9 used clothes and mattresses respectively.rnMenstrual practices adopted by the schoolgirls were dependent on the family background.rnWell up families provided the correct menstrual hygiene products to their girls. All thernstudied schools reported no arrangements for menstruating learners like sanitary wear andrnspecial WASH facilities. A percentage of 58 of the studied learners population couldrnchange their menstrual sanitary wear easily. Only 16 of the girls reported having accessrnto water and soap after the change of their menstrual wear. However 56 of the populationrnused plain water after the change of their sanitary wear. A further percentage of 27 of therngirls reported the use of plain water to clean their genital area while at school.rnInfrastructure wise learners reported they had to queue with other learners as there werernno special changing rooms. The learners toilet ratio was inadequate in all the sampledrninstitutions. A sample represented by 32 of the learners reported throwing their sanitaryrnmaterial into routine waste in school while 56 threw their sanitary wear in pit latrines. Arnpercentage of 12 reported burning their used sanitary wear more so when at home.