Beyond Menstruation is the much needed effort for hygiene, health and Harmony to be established. A girl and every woman needs to have an environment that appreciates menstruation as a natural healthy pattern that requires social, physical, infrastructural, medical and emotional support.
It starts with the blood discharge and the discussion has been about managing the flow in terms of hygiene. This discussion centres on managing the flow through access to sanitary materials including pads, changing outfits, access to water, soap, wash and changing rooms. It has also moved to how to store or dispose of the sanitary materials.
Concerns of how to store a used pad due to culture prohibitions in disposal is crucial. The bag in which it is kept ought to ensure the smell is contained. Storage also emerged as a necessity for girls and women using reusable pads.
It is important girls learn how many times a pad ought to be changed and if it is a resusable pads how long it should be used.
Handling a pads is an important part of hygiene. For reusable pads how they are washed and dried is vital to the health of a girl or woman. On the other hand the disposable pads should be incinerated than thrown into pits.
The health component is strongly required in a girls or woman’s ability to prevent pain, infections, body irregularities and control sensual demands.
During menstruation the girl or woman’s uterus will contract to expel the lining formed in preparation for a potential pregnancy. This pain is best managed by a good diet, exercises and pain killing remedies.
In this period the body is prone to infections if the girl or woman is exposed to poor quality sanitary materials and toilet as well as bathroom resources. Therefore good sanitary materials, clean toilets and bathrooms are a requirement. Additionally a girl or woman needs to know how to clean up without affecting the normal vaginal flora and preventing anal contamination. Using soap and douching are not recommended.
Handling body irregularities is also significant to health during the menstrual period. Body irregularities manifest in different forms for women some get diarrhoea, others vomit, other get skin rash or acne, other get body weakness, some lose appetite for food. All these require medical support and guidance.
Sensual demands arise due to hormonal influx and a girl or woman’s libido pre and immediately after menstruation goes high. The body starts talking about procreation and the hormons drive the body to respond to that. For school going girls and young women this phase of menstruation places emphasis on sexual reproductive health. Preventing early and unwanted pregnancy.
Another crucial part of Menstrual Managment is Harmony. This is acheived socially, emotionally and mentally. The stigma surrounding menstruation has to be dissolved by dymistifying taboos, steorotypes and opening the period up to public appreciation rather than ridicule. Emotionally and mentally, girls have to be readied for such a time to exercise self control and restraint. However counseling and peer support becomes crucial.
All this becomes possible when rooted in the home and school environment for girls and for women, home and workplace. These found the roots by which initial implementation of hygiene, health and Harmony are undertaken. However the effort is further reinforced by government interventions in policy, advocacy and service delivery. As well as Non government organisations engagement in providing services, advocacy and acting on the existing policy recommendations to ensure the girl and womans needs plus health and social rights are met.
The girls and women also have a responsibility to meet when all support is attained from family and school or workplaces, augmented by government and non governmental organizations Interventions. The hypothesis in this, is that the girls and women’s esteem and knowledge to utilise the available Opportunities and resources, to ensure a hygiene, healthy and harmony filled menstrual period every month; would yield to girls and women living more fulfilled lives, able to perform well with less hinderance throughout the month and year. As well as able to attend to their emotional, mental, reproductive, social, health and hygiene with precaution, prescription and self drive.