Just the Facts

  • 20150306_161140In Sub-Saharan Africa the mean age at menarche is 13.98 (±1.17) years. At this age, only about 51% of girls had knowledge about menstruation and its management.
  • To aggravate the problem, only 24.7% of their parents talk to them about menstruation and general body changes.
  • About 80% of the girls absent themselves from school when they first start experiencing menstruation.
  • 90% of the poor women and girls do not use (off-the-shelf) sanitary pads, but instead improvise with pieces of cloth, paper, among other things which is due to the high cost of imported pads (Makerere University)
  • Urban–rural disparity in access to sanitary napkins indicated that, 37.1% of urban girls used sanitary napkins while only 1.6% of rural girls used this product.
  • 70% of female students reported difficulties attending class attentively due to menstrual related problems such as pain and fear of sudden menstrual blood leakage
  • 90% of girls say they are embarrassed to show or hang their rags in public.
  • More than 50% of girls reported to have been absent from school during their last menstruation period. Those who did not use sanitary napkins were more likely to be absent from school.
  • 58% percent of girls reported that their school-performance had declined after they had menarche. In addition, the qualitative study indicated that school-dropout was common among girls who experienced teasing and humiliation by classmates when their clothes were stained with blood as they do not use sanitary napkins.
  • False beliefs are harmful! Many girls hold beliefs about menstruation as a release of ‘bad blood’, and as an assurance of fecundity. In Uganda’s Bukedea district, the women were not even allowed to tie the animals during menstruation, as it would bring a curse in the home.
  • About 90% of students reported that their school did not have a separate sanitary facility for females
  • 3% of the girls spoken to admitted to being stigmatized whenever their dresses got soiled and as a result, they opt to stay at home until after their period.
  • 45% of the boys interviewed said that they did not have knowledge on menstruation