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Practices of Managing Menstrual Hygiene by Girls in Public Boarding Secondary Schools - The Case of the Hhohho Region of Swaziland

Alfred Francis Murye and Sambulo Revelation Mamba

A quantitative exploratory and descriptive study was carried out in the Hhohho region of Swaziland to describe the practices of managing menstrual hygiene by secondary school girls in boarding public schools. The researchers’ curiosity was raised by the fact that, it was observed in a few schools that menstrual waste disposal was poorly managed. The study aimed at describing the manner at which the boarding school girls managed menstrual hygiene in order to recommend strategies to improve on the way they handled menstrual hygiene. Specifically, it investigated the methods used to contain, store, transport and dispose of menstrual waste and also ascertained the problems associated with the disposal of such wastes in the boarding schools. The data showed that, 100% of the girls use sanitary napkins for containing the menstrual blood and flush toilets were the main sanitary facilities that were provided by the schools. Menstrual wastes were mainly collect in bins placed in the toilets as 89% of the respondents indicated so. A large proportion (64%) of the respondents said the bins were collected on daily basis and the contents are burned in open spaces provided in the school premises as reported by 61.7% of the participants. It is concluded that menstrual hygiene is not properly managed by boarding secondary school girls as the current handling of such wastes exposes the girls and waste handlers to blood borne disease, the open burning pollutes the air and the blood being wet, could result in incomplete burning and thus threaten surface water sources. It is recommended that Government should integrate menstrual hygiene in WASH programmes in schools and the open burning of such wastes should be replaced by disposing them of in sanitary landfills or by incineration.