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Emory Global Health Institute Field Scholars Awards Program

2012 Global Health Institute Field Scholars

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools: A Multi-setting Approach for Applied Learning and Improved Practice

Bethany Caruso, Laney Graduate School, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
Anna Ellis, Laney Graduate School, Master's of Development Practice
Gauthami Penkalapati, Rollins School of Public Health

fsa project 2012 menstural healthMenstrual hygiene management is a critical issue that, until recently, has been largely ignored in both public health and development. Inability to effectively manage menstruation can lead to infection, reluctance to participate in activities, physical discomfort, and embarrassment. This multidisciplinary team created this applied research program to address three critical needs to developing current thinking and practice regarding menstrual hygiene management:

  1. work to better understand to what extent menstruation impacts girls across a range of settings;
  2. understand what a ‘basic package of MHM interventions’ for girls in schools should be;
  3. effectively translate research findings into tools that are useful to teachers at the school level.

The primary objective of this project was to systematically investigate menstruation-related challenges across a range of settings, using a coherent theoretical and methodological approach. The goal of the team’s socio-ecological approach was designed to pursue lines of inquiry previously under-investigated. Team members carried out this project at sites in Bolivia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. This work was a joint applied learning program between researchers at Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water and practitioners and policy makers at UNICEF, CARE, WaterAid, and Save the Children.

In follow-up to their summer work, this team presented a poster of their project during the 2012 EGHI Global Health Scholars Symposium.

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