Publications & Reports

Menstrual hygiene management and school absenteeism among adolescent students in Indonesia: evidence from a cross-sectional school-based survey.

Davis J, Macintyre A, Odagiri M, Suriastini W, Cordova A, Huggett C, Agius PA, Faiqoh, Budiyani AE, Quillet C, Cronin AA, Diah M, Triwahyunto A, Luchters S, Kennedy E
Maternal and Child Health Program, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.


OBJECTIVE: Assess prevalence of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) knowledge and practices among adolescent schoolgirls in Indonesia, and assess factors associated with poor MHM and school absenteeism due to menstruation. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey enrolled a representative sample of urban and rural school-going girls aged 12-19 years in four provinces of Indonesia. A semi-structured, self-administered questionnaire obtained socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge, practices and attitudes related to menstruation, MHM, and school absenteeism. School water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities were also assessed. Univariate weighted population prevalence was estimated and multivariable logit regression analyses applied to explore associations. RESULTS: A total of 1,159 adolescent girls with a mean age of 15 years (sd=1.8) participated. Most girls (90.8%, 95% confidence interval (95%CI)=79.7-96.1) had reached menarche. Over half (64.1%, 95%CI=49.9-76.2) reported poor MHM practices, and 11.1% (95%CI=8.1-15.2) had missed one or more days of school during their most recent menstrual period. Poor MHM practices were associated with rural residence (AOR=1.73, 95%CI=1.13-2.64), province (various AOR), lower school grade (AOR=1.69, 95%CI=1.05-2.74), and low knowledge of menstruation (AOR=3.49, 95%CI1.61-7.58). Absenteeism was associated with living in rural areas (AOR=3.96, 95%CI=3.02-5.18), province (various AOR), higher school grade (AOR=3.02, 95%CI=2.08-4.38), believing menstruation should be kept secret (AOR=1.47, 95%CI=1.03-2.11), experiencing serious menstrual pain (AOR=1.68, 95%CI=1.06-2.68) and showed mixed associations with school WASH facilities. CONCLUSIONS: High prevalence of poor MHM and considerable school absenteeism due to menstruation among Indonesian girls highlight the need for improved interventions that reach girls at a young age and address knowledge, shame and secrecy, acceptability of WASH infrastructure and menstrual pain management..

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We acknowledge Afitha Rahma and Bestha Inatsan fromAliansi Remaja Independen, Indonesia, for their contribu-tions to the study design and data collection tools. Theopinions expressed are those of the authors and do notnecessarily reflect the views of UNICEF or the UnitedNations or the other institutions to which the authors areaffiliated. This study was commissioned and funded byUNICEF Indonesia


  • Journal: Tropical Medicine & International Health
  • Published: 04/10/2018
  • Volume: 23
  • Issue: 12
  • Pagination: 1350-1363