Factors that affect menstrual hygiene among adolescent schoolgirls: a case study from Mongu District, Zambia
Lahme, Anne Mutunda
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Menstruation is both a public health concern that requires hygienic management and a human rights issue that demands dignity and health. We conducted six focus groups with 51 respondents from three secondary schools in Mongu District, Western Province, in Zambia to explore factors that influence adolescent girls’ understanding, experiences, and practices of menstrual hygiene. Thematic content analysis was used to identify multiple interrelated problems that stem from (1) culture and traditional practices, (2) inadequate accurate health information, and (3) poverty-related conditions. The girls faced menstruation-related inconveniences, bullying and humiliation, stress, infections, poor school attendance and performance, and dropped out of school. Policy recommendations are included.