Community-Based Menstrual Hygiene Promotion in Rural Nepal

Authors: Silwal, R.C., Pradhan, S., Sharma, A., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E. and Jimba, M.

Conference: First National Adolescent Health & Development Conference

Dates: 2-3 May 2016


Background: Menstrual health for adolescent girls is a neglected issue across Nepal. The problem intensity of poor menstrual management is even larger in the rural areas. Since 2012, Green Tara Nepal (GTN) initiated a community based health promotion programme targeting both school going and out-of-school girls. Monthly meeting with adolescent girls and a round of training on making alternative sanitary pads were among the major activities of this programme. These interventions focused on promotion and improvement of menstrual hygiene and care among rural adolescent girls regarding menstrual health.

Methods: A before-after study was conducted in two remote Village Development Committees of Nawalparasi using mixed method. This paper highlights the qualitative findings.

Results: Baseline study (2012) showed that foul smelly vaginal discharge was the most common health problem among adolescent girls. They were reluctant in sharing this problem with anybody and seeking services because of the stigma regarding menstruation in their community. Follow-up study (2014) showed that most of the girls have started to use locally-made sanitary pads. As a result of monthly meetings, the girls now could share and learn issues around menstrual health. Community based programme was found to be an effective approach for promoting menstrual health.

Conclusion and the way forward: In the context of community with high adolescent marriage, adolescent pregnancy and high school dropout, Community based programmes targeting adolescent girls could be a key to improve menstruation hygiene in rural Nepal.

Source: Manual