WASH challenges to girls’ menstrual hygiene management in Metro Manila, Masbate, and South Central Mindanao, Philippines
This paper examines water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions that enable and hinder Philippine schoolgirls to hygienically manage their menstruation. We collected qualitative data from 13 schools in three regions of the Philippines. Schools in both urban (Metro Manila) and rural areas (Masbate and South Central Mindanao) were included to allow for comparison across settings. Unreliable access to water, lack of disposal mechanisms for menstrual materials, unclean facilities, and insufficient number of latrines were identified as the key barriers to effective menstrual management in Masbate and Metro Manila. In South Central Mindanao, there was greater oversight of WASH hardware at schools and hardware was in better condition, which created a more enabling environment for girls to manage menstruation. Creating an enabling WASH environment for girls to manage menstruation requires sustained support and system oversight, combined with knowledge and information.