Menstrual hygiene management: Challenges and coping strategies for adolescents with disabilities in the Kumasi Metro of Ghana
Disability, CBR and Inclusive Development
Stichting Liliane Fonds
Institute for Nutrition Research
© 2020, Action for Disability Regional Rehabilitation Centre. All rights reserved. Purpose: Effective menstrual hygiene management is vital to the health, well-being, dignity, empowerment, mobility and productivity of girls and women. This study was conducted to ascertain menstrual hygiene management challenges and coping strategies of adolescents with disabilities in the Kumasi Metro of Ghana. Method: An exploratory study design with qualitative approach was employed to select 18 participants. Data was collected through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, and then transcribed and categorised into specific themes. Results: Females with visual impairment had difficulty in maintaining good menstrual hygiene because of problems in detecting menstrual blood, inability to fix sanitary pads appropriately and wash underwear properly, and anxiety and stress from not knowing whether their period has started. The problems of those with physical impairment were related to inaccessible washrooms, long hours of being seated on the part of wheelchair-users, and difficulty in fixing sanitary pads for those with upper limb impairment. For those with hearing impairment, the main challenge was the communication barrier between them and their significant others whenever they needed help. Conclusion: There are common challenges faced by all girls across the globe with regard to menstrual hygiene management. Adolescent females with disability however face additional challenges with regard to MHM. Those with physical disability encounter accessibility challenges, while the main challenge for the deaf and those with speech problems is communication. The visually impaired live in anxiety due to fear of staining their clothes.