Menstrual health management and schooling experience amongst female learners in Gauteng, South Africa: a mixed method study
There has been increased attention to the menstrual health management (MHM) needs of girls and young women in Eastern and Southern Africa, relating to dignity, and to the potential link between the lack of access to sanitary products and school absenteeism. In the South Africa, there is inadequate evidence to guide appropriate national responses. This study explored the extent of access to modern sanitary products amongst female high school learners and the range of needs and challenges that they face in managing their menses in school settings in Gauteng, South Africa. We collected mixed method data from 10 schools in Sedibeng district between June and August 2018. The qualitative component consisted of in-depth interviews with female learners (n = 30), educators (n = 8) and mothers of female learners (n = 9) and focus group discussions (FGDs) with male learners (n = 7) and female learners (n = 10). Five hundred and five female learners were recruited into the quantitative component consisting of a self-administered survey focusing on factors associated with access to sanitary products.