Assessing the effect of menstruation on school performance among adolescent girls in primary schools in Petta Sub County Tororo District, Uganda
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Introduction: Menstruation is characterized by psychological and physiological challenges that affect school attendance, participation, concentration and completion of class work among adolescent girls. Limited data exists on the impact of menstruation among adolescent girls on school performance. This study set out to assess the effect of menstruation on school performance among adolescent girls in primary schools in Petta Sub County, Tororo district. Methods: This was a cross sectional study among 390 adolescent girls drawn from 5 primary schools in Petta sub county, Tororo district. A pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect data. Data was summarized using frequencies, percentages and graphs. A chi square test or Fisher’s exact test and a simple logistic regression were adopted to establish which variables to include in the multivariate analysis. All variables with p-value <0.10 were included in the model. At multivariable analysis, a multi variable logistic regression was used to control for possible confounders. Results: A total of 390 adolescent girls participated in the study and on average, they were 13.4 years old. Out of the total participants, 44.4 percent scored average mark below 50%. Almost two thirds (63.6%) of the girls had ever experienced menstruation. High proportion (56.4 %) of all participants who had experienced menstruation scored an average mark below 50 percent. History of menstruation was associated with school absenteeism (OR=2.33, CI=1.38-3.91). Those who had experienced menstruation had a higher odds of scoring below 50 percent than those who had never (Adjusted OR=2.03, CI=1.26-3.27). Similarly girls who do not attend school every school day had a 37% increased odds of obtaining an average score below 50% (Adjusted OR=0.63, CI=0.41-0.96). Conclusion and recommendation: Adolescent girls who had ever menstruated were more likely to score average marks below 50%. They were also more likely to miss school. Therefore, menstruation and its characteristics negatively affect adolescent girls’ performance in this community. Advocacy for increased budget allocation to schools at Sub County, district and ministerial level should be prioritised. Also health education on Menstrual Hygiene Management for adolescent girls in primary schools should be strengthened.