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First-ever Girls’ Hygiene Guidelines launched in Afghanistan

First-ever Girls’ Hygiene Guidelines launched in Afghanistan

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Oct 30, 2018 - 14:34

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Educationinfo-icon, with the support of UNICEF and other sector ministries, on Tuesday celebrated Girls Hygiene Day, and the launch of the first ever Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Guideline for teachers in Afghanistaninfo-icon, according to a statement.

The Guideline is complemented by comic and simplified materials for adolescent girls, both in and out of schools, the UNICEF statement said.

The main aim of the Guideline is to break taboos and raise awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene management for adolescent girls and womeninfo-icon in Afghanistan. 

While menstruation is biological and a normal phenomenon, UNICEF’s 2016 Formative Research on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), found that lack of knowledge and facilities is a major reason why girls often miss school while menstruating, sometimes resulting in dropping out of school.

Accurate and timely information, as well as adequate facilities, are essential to enable girls better manage their menstruation in a hygienic and dignified manner. The involvement of teachers and mothers in raising awareness and enhancing education about menstrual hygiene is therefore key to improving retention and reducing school dropout rates amongst girls. 

“Attention to personal hygiene and proper nutrition during adolescence are important for girls for better growth and can help avoid healthinfo-icon complications and disability.  With good hygiene, they can have better control over their bodies, increase their self-confidence, and improve their attendance in school. Most importantly, healthy girls of today are the future mothers who will safeguard the process of motherhood and decrease mortality rate amongst young mothers.” said Rula (Bibi Gul) Ghani, First Lady of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Recent evidence and key findings indicate that; 70 per cent of girls do not take bath or shower during menstruation for fear of infertility; 29 per cent of to miss some school days when they were having their menses, some 80% girls were not allowed to attend social events such as weddings, or funerals, or going to shrines during menstruation and that 50 per-cent girls were not aware of menstruation until first period started.  

Speaking at the event Dr. Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi, the Minister of Education said, “Girls have an irrevocable right to education, which is lost if they feel unable to attend lessons because of a lack of sanitary products or clean, private toilets at school. Governments simply need to ensure that every school has clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene." Better facilities in schools will not only help towards the global promise of universal access to clean water, but are also essential for achieving other Sustainable Development Goals on quality education, gender equality and good health and well-being.” Mr. Balkhi added.

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