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

Tuesday, 09/04/2019SurveyMETERJessica Davis, Alison Macintyre, Mitsunori Odagiri, Wayan Suriastini, Andreina Cordova, Chelsea Huggett, Paul A. Agius, Faiqoh, Anissa Elok Budiyani, Claire Quillet, Aidan A. Cronin, Ni Made Diah, Agung Triwahyunto, Stanley Luchters, and Elissa Kennedy


In 2015, SurveyMETER conducted a Menstrual Hygiene Management in Indonesia survey funded by UNICEF and coordinated by the Burnet Institute, in collaboration with Australian WaterAid and Aliansi Remaja Indonesia. 

There is an increase in knowledge of the effects applied by menstrual management practices on health, education and psychosocial conditions for women and girls in developing countries. Adolescence is of particular concern where socio-cultural norms can be a barrier for adolescent girls to get accurate information about menstruation and menstrual hygiene at the beginning of menarche.  Poor MHM practices can also lead to school dropouts, absenteeism, and other sexual and reproductive health problems that have substantial long-term consequences for health and socio-economic conditions for young women/teenager. 

Until now research on MHM in Indonesia, especially among young women is still limited.  Therefore, to overcome this gap, studies with the mix study method were conducted with a total of 1159 respondents and spread across four provinces in Indonesia, namely Papua, East Java, South Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara.  The purpose of this study is to explore, determine the determinants and effects of MHM practices among school-age girls.  The study also identified a number of challenges that have an impact on the ability of young women to manage menstruation hygienically. 

The results of the study show that more than half of the respondents did poor MHM practices, of which 11.1% missed one or more school days during their menstrual period.  Poor MHM practices are associated with areas of residence, lower grade levels in school, and low levels of knowledge about menstruation.  Whereas the absenteeism rate is influenced by the area of residence, the higher grade level in the school, the level of confidence that menstruation must be kept confidential, experiencing menstrual pain and school WASH facilities. 

The high prevalence of poor MHM practices and absenteeism from school due to menstruation among Indonesian adolescent girls, highlights the need for increased interventions that reach young women at a young age and discuss knowledge, shame and secrecy, acceptance of WASH infrastructure and management of menstrual pain.

A full report of this study can be accessed through the website://