Breaking the silence, let the conversation begin

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BY GEORGINA KEKEA

A global day to break the silence and build awareness will be held on Monday 28th May at the Maranatha Hall.

Menstrual hygiene day aims to bring awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.

MH Day raises awareness of the challenges women and girls worldwide face due to their menstruation and highlights solutions that address these challenges, including through media work.

Many of those challenges faced by girls and women globally is said to be faced by our girls in the country as well.

In Solomon Islands, a study on MHM found that girls face multiple challenges from menstruation in a school setting, including lack of water and adequate ablution facilities, barriers to accessing absorbent materials, inaccurate information on menstruation and menstrual hygiene, beside cultural barriers.

The impacts of these challenges were absenteeism, feelings of shame or embarrassment and lack of concentration and reduced participation in class.

The determinants’ of these menstruation-related challenges in schools that were identified by girls and their teachers includes quality of school WASH facilities, availability of hygiene materials, access to accurate information about menstruation and support from school managers and teachers.

From the study, based on biggest barriers identified, recommendations were to improve school policies, facilities and resources available to manage menstruation at schools, give girls knowledge and skills to maintain their menstrual hygiene safely and effectively at school and to improve national policies and monitoring of MHM in schools.

“While we need to work towards targeted solutions to address the multiple barriers, one of the first steps required is to start a conversation around the issue, to break the silence and the secrecy that surrounds the topic,” a statement from the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) says.

Mr Ambrose Malefoasi the programme is hoped to provide a platform for greater inter-sectoral collaboration and partnerships to advance the agenda of MHM in the country.

MEHRD in partnership with UNICEF, will mark the day with an advocacy event involving government officials, NGOs, Church leaders and other practitioners to reflect on solutions and actions.

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