UTILIZATION OF MODERN REUSABLE MENSTRUAL PADS AMONG SCHOOL GOING ADOLSECENT GIRLS AGED(10-19) YEARS IN BIDI BIDI REFUGEE SETTLEMENT YUMBE DISTRICT, UGANDA
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Background: Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is a spectrum of interventions necessary to ensure adolescent girls and women in various contexts hygienically manage their monthly menstrual flow. We assessed the knowledge, perceptions, level of utilization, Barriers and enhancers towards the use of modern reusable menstrual pads by school going adolescent girls. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving both quantitative and qualitative data collection technique. A total of 477 school going adolescent girls aged 10-19 years were interviewed. Seven (7) focused group discussions were held with girls (15 years above) and Seven (7) key informant interviews were held with the senior women teachers in the selected schools. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine factors associated with utilization of the modern reusable menstrual pad. Qualitative data analysis was conducted using deductive context analysis approach. Results: The majority (86%) of the school going adolescent girls were using modern reusable menstrual pad. Most of the respondents (94%) and (83%) in secondary and primary respectively had knowledge about how to maintain the pad. Similarly, the majority (86% and 75%) had a positive perception towards to the use of the modern reusable menstrual pad. Factors significantly associated with use of pads were tertiary level of education (APR=1.17, 95% CI=1.05-1.31), relatives employed with an NGO or are civil servants (APR=0.85, 95% CI=0.74-0.98 and APR=0.88, 95% CI= 0.80-0.97), those who preferred disposable pads (APR=1.12, 95% CI=1.00-1.24).The enhancers of use were comfort, knowledge, durability, culture and family support. Barriers to use of the pad include lack of soap, limited buckets and fear to wash the pad among others. Conclusion and Recommendation There is high use of re-usable pads coupled with high knowledge and positive perception towards use of modern reusable menstrual pad. Implementing partners should ensure continued adequate supply of pads, soap and buckets for effective use of modern reusable pads.