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Global Research Update #23

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, 2019: Improving health and learning through better water, sanitation and hygiene in schools: an information package for school staff. The WHO Regional Office for Europe has developed an information package to provide practical support for school staff on how to address common problems beyond the provision of proper WASH infrastructures such as issues regarding menstrual hygiene and how to deliver improvements at the school level, alongside pupils and the entire school community. This information package consists of 15 short factsheets, including Menstrual Hygiene Management.

Jennings et al., 2019: A forgotten group during humanitarian crises: a systematic review of sexual and reproductive health interventions for young people including adolescents in humanitarian settings. A systematic review was conducted to assess the evidence on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) interventions for young people including adolescents in humanitarian settings, strategies to increase their utilization and their effects on health outcomes. Findings: The majority of studies focused on prevention of unintended pregnancies, HIV and Sexually transmitted infections, maternal and newborn health, and prevention of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and little focused on sexual health including comprehensive sexuality education. No studies reporting inclusion of young people from sexual minorities or those with disabilities. Moreover, no data was found on economic evaluation of SRH interventions for young people in humanitarian crisis settings and none of the included interventions targeted boys and of the interventions aimed at reducing SGBV, all targeted only at girls. Strategies used to increase utilization of SRH interventions by young people include adolescent-friendly spaces, peer workers, school-based activities, and involving young people in the development, implementation and evaluation of interventions.

Nielsen, J.K, 2017: Women and girls’ experiences with safety, hygiene and sanitation in connection with Menstrual Health Management in Nyarugusu refugee camp in Kasulu, Tanzania. A qualitative study with a field study component was carried out among 6 representatives from organizations working with MHM and 31 women, girls, and men living in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania in 2016 to assess the appropriateness and level of Menstrual Health Management (MHM) for menstruators in the camp in order to inform the design of future interventions by humanitarian actors. Findings: Menstruators depend on the support from the organizations, but the provided MHM interventions are not appropriate and sufficient enough to meet the needs of menstruators in the camp. Some organizations conducted MHM awareness interventions and distributed MHM methods like reusable pads. All women and girls have received MHM materials once and they lack MHM products and wait for the next distribution. None of the women know any other method to handle their period than cloths and pads, but some would welcome other methods such as menstrual cups. The organizations have many challenges with implementing MHM interventions, especially concerning delivery, coordination, communication, and staff understanding the importance of giving MHM support.

Karki, 2019: Menstrual Effect on Education of Girl Student: Cases from Secondary Level School of Kathmandu, Nepal. A descriptive study was conducted among 120 secondary girl students in one public and one private schools in Kathmandu district in Nepal to identify the menstrual effect on the education of secondary girl students. Findings: Majority (89.2%) experienced leakage during school time and 52.5% said that when they have leakage at school, they will go back home and 47.5% reported that they will stay at school. The results also indicated that 3.3% always and 36.7% sometimes missed school during menstruation whereas 60% girls never missed school during menstruation. Main causes of missing school were stomach pain (6.7%) at the time of menstruation followed by tiredness, fear of staining clothes, fear of bullying by friends.

Bigirwa, S et al., 2019: Menstrual hygiene in primary schools: understanding the role of school health clubs in Fort portal municipality, Kabarole district, Uganda. A cross sectional study was conducted among primary schools with school health clubs in Fort portal municipality in Kabarole district, Uganda to assess the role of school health clubs towards menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in primary schools. Findings: 76.9% of the respondents reported that school female teachers taught the school health club about menstrual hygiene and 95.3% strongly agreed that the school health club helps in improving school hygiene. 89.5% of school club members educated their school fellows on menstrual hygiene and more than 50% of participants were engaged in mobilizing school administration for necessary sanitary materials to promote menstrual hygiene.

DeMaria et al., 2019: The myth of menstruation: how menstrual regulation and suppression impact contraceptive choice. A mixed-method qualitative study done to assess the attitudes and perceptions of 626 women aged 18-44 living in or near an urban southeast coastal region of the US toward contraceptive, including how menstrual regulation and suppression preferences influenced contraceptive choice. Findings: Participants preferred contraceptive methods that allowed monthly bleeding and daily control, expressing concerns about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) because of decreased user involvement. Many participants felt menstruation was healthy whereas suppression was abnormal and resulted in negative health outcomes. Though participants indicated LARC improved their menstrual control, they chose combined oral contraceptives due to convenience.

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