"I am glad I joined the school health club. Amref Health Africa came to our school and shared the idea on a school health club with us. At first, we did not know what the club was supposed to do, but still, our Head Teacher allowed us to set it up. We have been supported by Amref Health Africa staff through training on issues regarding good hygiene practices. Before, many girls had a problem managing issues related to menstruation, with special reference to hygiene.
Now, through teachings from Amref Health Africa staff, we are more enlightened on menstruation and personal hygiene. Before, many girls would miss classes when they were on their period. Now, they do not have to miss classes during their menstruation days, as they know how to manage it.
The issue of sanitary towels was also of much concern, as many girls could not afford them. However, through the club, we were taught how to make our own sanitary towels. I am also very pleased that the partnership between Amref Health Africa and our school also resulted in the building of a girls’ changing room that has clean water. Initially, we have very limited water so keeping clean was difficult. This makes personal hygiene very easy.
The presence of sufficient water has also allowed us to practice other hygiene practices. For example, whereas we could not practice hand washing before, today, all students wash their hands after special times. The special times are after playing, after visiting the toilet and also when going to eat. Amref Health Africa set up water tanks that ensure we always have clean water. In fact, typhoid, which was a common ailment in the school, is not a problem anymore.
As the president of the school health club, my main responsibility is to teach the other children what I have learnt in the health club. I taught them how to make the sanitary towels and also how to wash their hands and keep clean.
Together, we have also learnt to share what we have learnt through music, dance and drama. Our school has competed with other schools in this sense and we have always done very well. I have not fallen sick in a long time, and I am more confidence in class and with my fellow pupils and teachers even during menstruation. So I am proud of Amref Health Africa’s efforts in ensuring pupils stay in school. I now advocate for proper Hygiene and sanitation in my school and home."
Written by Janet Kabachunguzi, Amref Health Africa in Uganda