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Focus on Menstrual Health Improving Education for Girls in Zambia

Chitentabunga Primary School, in rural Lusaka province, is one of the schools that has received reusable pads to distribute to its students

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Menstrual, Health, Zambian
FILE - Girls learn to make sanitary pads from imported water-proof materials in project sponsored by the Malawi NGO, Girls Empowerment Network (VOA / L. Masina) VOA

New health classes and government partnerships with not-for-profits focused on menstrual health are improving education for girls in Zambia.

In 2017, the government announced it would distribute free sanitary pads to girls in some rural and underserved areas. Two years later, menstrual hygiene management classes have been introduced in schools, and partnerships with organizations such as World Vision have brought reusable sanitary pads to rural communities.

Chitentabunga Primary School, in rural Lusaka province, is one of the schools that has received reusable pads to distribute to its students.

Educators at Chitentabunga say the pads have helped reduce absenteeism. In years past, 80 to 100 girls would miss classes at any given time due to menstrual issues across seven schools. Now, just five to 10 girls are out at any given time.

Menstrual, Health, Zambian
In 2017, the government announced it would distribute free sanitary pads to girls in some rural and underserved areas. Pixabay

“We used to have a lot of absenteeism, especially in mature girls, that is, girls that have started their menstrual periods. At a time when they go on their menstrual periods, these girls used to stay away from school,” Tyson Hachilangu, head teacher at Chitentabunga, said.

Girls at the school say the pads have improved their quality of life.

“Before this program was introduced, we used ordinary clothes, which would cause bruises. But now, the school gives us pads, and we also have a special bathroom where girls can go and clean up, in case she soils herself at school,” Choolwe Susu, a pupil at the school, said.

She added that the new resources have reduced the shame and teasing associated with menstruation.

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“Previously, boys used to laugh at girls who soil themselves at school, and this used to [cause] girls on menses to stay away from school. But now we can come to school, even on menses, because menstruation is normal for women, and without it there would be no humanity,” she said.

The program has also helped teach girls about pads, and schools have instituted policies to give girls space to practice proper hygiene.

“We are taught about pads. There are two types of pads. A pad is one that you wear with a pant, while a padden is one you wear without a pant. And if you spoil yourself, you have the right to tell your teacher, who will give you a pad, water and soap to clean yourself in the special bathroom,” Cnythia Choono, another pupil at Chitentabunga, said.

Zambia’s president, Edgar Lungu, told VOA the country intends to keep advocating for girls. “We want to cut down on early marriages,” he said. “We went to avoid maternal death.”

Menstrual, Health, Zambian
Two years later, menstrual hygiene management classes have been introduced in schools, and partnerships with organizations such as World Vision. Pixabay

So far, partnerships like the one with World Vision that brought interventions to Chitentabunga appear to be working. That could become a model for similar kinds of real-world impacts.

Also Read- Poor Posture can Lead to Chronic Pain

“We have a responsibility to work with members of the community,” Lungu said. (VOA)

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Know About the Various Sleep Disorders

Having trouble sleeping? It could be a sleep disorder

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Sleep Disorders
It is essential in promoting heart health, muscle repair, cognitive consolidation and limits the onset of sleep disorders. Lifetime Stock

A good nights sleep is extremely significant to our health. If you do not get enough sleep, or sleep at an incorrect time, or sleep in breaks or have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, this may cause sleep deficiency.

Quality sleep helps regulate a healthy immune system as well as hormones Ghrelin and Leptin that help balance appetite. On average, an adult should sleep for at least seven-nine hours.

The body’s blood pressure is permitted to regulate itself through adequate sleep. It is essential in promoting heart health, muscle repair, cognitive consolidation and limits the onset of sleep disorders. Due to our current lifestyles, we might face trouble sleeping at night; we tend to ignore the signs until the problem escalates.

Sleep Disorders
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. Lifetime Stock

“Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the aptitude to sleep well on a regular basis. It is a common problem nowadays that coincides with a simple headache and day-to-day stress. When a patient walks in for a headache which is a common neurological disorder, 60-70 per cent of the time it is related to disrupted sleep,” says Dr Rima Chaudhari, Consultant Neurologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

Insomnia is known to be the most common sleep disorder, But, there are more sleep disorders one should know of that affect health and lifestyle.

Sleep Apnoea

This is a serious sleep disorder where breathing frequently stops and starts again, this causes the oxygen level in the blood to drop. It may therefore hamper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body; our body senses this occurrence and disrupts one’s sleep, to ensure that the individual breathes again. Common symptoms of sleep apnoea are snoring, wheezing for air, and waking up with a dry mouth.

Restless legs syndrome

It is a neurological disorder where a person gets an urge to move his/her legs constantly. People with this condition experience discomfort or twitchiness (ache or burning) in their legs after going to sleep. As it typically disturbs sleep, it is considered as a sleep disorder.

Sleep paralysis

Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect the aptitude to sleep well on a regular basis. Lifetime Stock

Sleep paralysis is a disorder where a person is unable to move or speak when waking up and falling asleep. A person may also tend to hallucinate in this case. Patients experience a certain pressure and instant fear, as they have a feeling of being conscious but are unable to move.

Circadian rhythm disorder

This is a type of disorder which usually happens when a person’s internal biological clock is not in sync with external time cues. This sleeping pattern is usually hindered by two or more hours, especially when a person goes to sleep later at night or sleeps later in the morning. This is reported commonly amongst those who work night shifts, experience repetitive jet lag, or having an irregular sleep cycle.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a very common type of sleep disorder in which people have trouble falling and or staying asleep. They tend to sleep during the daytime, and are constantly low on energy or irritable.

Tips to get better sleep at night:

– Maintain good sleep hygiene and set a bedtime schedule

– Reduce coffee intake in the evenings and at night

Also Read- Follow These Tips For a Better Mental Health

– Decrease screen time, especially for a few hours before bedtime

– Exercise regularly

– Avoid afternoon or early evening naps if you have trouble sleeping at night

– Take a relaxing hot bath or shower before getting into bed (IANS)