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Sanitary Pad Distribution and Reproductive Health Education for Adolescent Girls in Nifukani Rural Area of West Timor

Even though menstruation is a natural and healthy process for adolescent girls and women of reproductive age, the level of openness to discuss about menstruation is low in Indonesia. In some areas, the social perception regarding menstruation in is still considered a taboo. In addition, there is a significant gap on the menstrual health management (MHM) barriers faced by adolescent girls and women in Indonesia, especially in some areas that have limitation to access or purchase the sanitary napkins.

Adequate knowledge about reproductive health including menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) is essential to the well-being and empowerment of adolescent girls and women. To properly manage their menstruation, adolescent girls and women require access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, affordable and appropriate sanitary products, information regarding MHM and a supportive environment for menstrual hygiene where they can manage menstruation without embarrassment or stigma.

The negative impact of the lack of information about menstruation causes unhygienic and unhealthy menstrual practices and creates misconceptions and negative attitudes such as unfriendly behaviour, humiliation, bullying, and even gender-based violence. Through some awareness-raising programs on menstruation and comprehensive reproductive health education, it is hoped that it can help adolescent girls and women have a better understanding about menstruation which will result in better hygiene practice and tackle the societal taboos about menstruation.

Access to affordable and sustainable menstrual hygiene products is key to improving menstrual health and hygiene. Yet only fraction of women and girls in developing countries use sanitary products during menstruation. Individuals use specific menstrual hygiene products based on their availability, knowledge, income, and region. Furthermore, affordability is a strong barrier to access menstrual products, particularly for women in low income families.

In Nifukani rural area, access to menstrual hygiene products and information is limited for adolescent girls. FMCH Indonesia and Priscilla Hall Memorial Foundation collaborate to implement the Days for Girls (DfG) activity in two locations, which were Elim Oefatu and Imanuel Nifikuni Church on 18 and 22 May 2022. Two interventions were combined in this activity, which are reproductive health education and sanitary pads distribution. The activity started at 9 am by giving an education of adolescent reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases to inform the adolescent girls and women the importance of maintaining their reproductive health. By having the right knowledge of the reproductive process, as well as how to maintain their health, it will make them more responsible in choosing behaviours and lifestyles that are not at risk, especially regarding to the reproductive process.

Moreover, there was a distribution of the DfG kits to 60 women of reproductive age and 65 adolescent girls in two locations. They also get knowledge about menstruation and how to use and care the DfG kits, and learn to practice how to use the kits together. The Priest as the church leader very welcome with the Days for Girls (DfG) activity that are very useful for all adolescent girls and women of reproductive age in Nifukani village. He also hopes that in the future, continuous assistance and monitoring will be carried out.

Besides that, there was a youth posyandu service (integrated health post activity) from public health centre (Puskesmas) Nulle, which were conducting medical checks, anthropometric measurement, and also distributing iron tablets for adolescent girls and women of reproductive age who involved in this activity. Viny Bria and Samy f. Tuka as the Priest were very grateful to FMCH Indonesia and Priscilla Hall Memorial Foundation for conducting Days for Girls activity and donating sanitary pads for adolescent girls in the Nifukani village are, West Amanuban, West Timor. They hoped that in the future, there will be more programs for adolescent girls and women in this area, so that vulnerable girls and women felt helped by this donation, and also reduce waste in the village.

Day for Girls Kits Distributed

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