Hygienic menstrual practices are very low among adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19 years, revealed a study.
Only one in every 11 married adolescents and one in eight unmarried adolescents have hygienic menstrual practice, found the first ever "Bangladesh Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Survey (BAHWS) 2019-20" which was revealed in a Dhaka event this afternoon.
The study revealed that one in every four ever married and unmarried in-school adolescents missed at least one day of school during their last menstruation.
Almost all (98%) of both married and unmarried adolescents reported using either disposable products or reusable materials cleaned with water and soap or detergent during menstruation.
The study was completed based on data from 20,000 adolescents across the country.
The National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT) with technical assistance from Research for Decision Makers (RDM) project of icddr,b and Data for Impact (D4I) of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill conducted the research.
The final report of the survey consists of 12 chapters about adolescents including exposure to media, marriage, menstrual hygiene, gender norms, violence, mental health, nutrition and dietary diversity and social connectedness with family and friends.
The survey also revealed that, 73% of unmarried female adolescents and 66% of unmarried male adolescents want to learn about puberty and physical changes.
While adolescent girls rely on books for getting information, internet is the most availed medium of getting information for male adolescents. Nationally, a majority of female adolescents had no prior knowledge about menstruation before they experienced it for the first time.
Speaking as chief guest, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that adolescent health and wellbeing have always been a priority for the Government of Bangladesh and its ministry of health.
"It is imperative to prevent early marriage and provide meaningful sexual and reproductive health education and services starting from adolescence to uphold the progress we are making in the health sector," the minister said.
Xerses Sidhwa, director of the Office of Population at the USAID said, "We can see from the results that the adolescents want more information on reproductive health like menstruation, puberty, and physical changes. Now is the time for us to think how we can reach these adolescents in a more efficient way. For this we would need an effective multi-sectoral approach."