A qualitative understanding of the effects of reusable sanitary pads and puberty education: implications for future research and practice

The management of menstruation has come to the fore as a barrier to girls' education attainment in low income contexts. Interventions have been proposed and piloted, but the emerging nature of the field means limited evidence is available to understand their pathways of effect. This study describes and compares schoolgirls' experiences of menstruation in rural Uganda at the conclusion of a controlled trial of puberty education and sanitary pad provision to elucidate pathways of effect in the interventions. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with schoolgirls who participated in the Menstruation and the Cycle of Poverty trial concurrent with the final set of quantitative surveys. A framework approach and cross-case analysis were employed to describe and compare the experiences of 27 menstruating girls across the four intervention conditions; education (n = 8), reusable sanitary pads (n = 8), education with reusable sanitary pads (n = 6), and control (n = 5).

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