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Menstrual Hygiene Management Impacts Girls’ School Experience in the Bolivian Amazon

In rural Beni, adolescent girls face many challenges when managing their menstruation. Menstruation results in reduced school participation, distraction, and stress, including concern that someone would know they were menstruating; fear about bloodstaining accidents and being bullied by classmates. In school toilets, there is a lack of privacy, cleanliness, water for hand washing, soap, toilet paper and absorbent materials. Knowledge about menstruation is insufficient, creating fear, anxiety, and misconceptions about fertility as well.

The purpose of this study on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in the Beni department of Bolivia is to better understand the challenges girls face due to menstruation; describe factors which influence girls’ experiences during menstruation; and present recommendations to create a supportive school environment for adolescent girls in Bolivia. This study complements the findings of the first MHM study undertaken in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2012, by providing information specific to the Amazonian population of the eastern lowlands of Bolivia. These two studies together provide evidence, along with recommendations for change, to national decisions makers to safeguard schoolgirls’ overall health and well-being.

Published 2018-02-23