Purpose: During adolescence, young people develop their adult identity, and move toward physical and psychological maturity. Puberty, marked by the onset of menarche, is recognized as an important stage, marking the transition from girlhood to womanhood. From this stage until menopause, reproductive health and basic menstrual hygiene practices are important aspects in their lives. The study examined the knowledge, attitude, and practices of menstrual hygiene management among orphan and vulnerable adolescents in Lagos State.
Methodology: the study was cross sectional and used quantitative research methods. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data from the female adolescent students aged 8-17 years. A total of 434 orphan and vulnerable female adolescents enrolled in the Integrated Child Health and Social Services Award (ICHSSA 2) project funded by USAID in Lagos State, Nigeria. The study was conducted across the 11 local government areas where the ICHSSA 2 project is being implemented. Adolescents were scored for their level of knowledge, attitude, and practices of menstrual hygiene management.
Findings: the study found that the mean age at menarche is 12 years. Knowledge and menstruation about menstruation is appreciable. About 92% of the participants had knowledge about menstruation before experiencing it, Majority of the adolescent receive information on MHM first from their mother (62.7%) and 88.5% of the participants use sanitary pads using 3-4 pads per day. 94.5% of the participants have good Practices (WASH) of Menstrual Hygiene Management. Access to sanitary pads is challenging.
Unique Contribution to Theory, Practice and Policy: Most of the orphans and vulnerable adolescent girls had good knowledge and practices of menstrual hygiene management. This demonstrates a need to design acceptable awareness creation and advocacy programs to improve the knowledge and promote safe hygiene practices of adolescent girls, in line with the SCT and KAP theory. Provision of MHM materials in schools and the inclusion of menstrual hygiene management into the school curriculum to achieve a near total coverage of safe hygiene practices among adolescent girls should also be prioritized as a matter of policy.
Keywords: Menstrual Hygiene Management, Adolescent Girls, Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)
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