Unwanted pregnancy has so far been a big challenges to girls especially day scholars in Secondary Schools, but the GS Musave high school teachers and students together with parents established both internal and external anti-pregnancy clubs to fight against an increasing number of unwanted pregnancies, by assisting girls to control the menstrual cycle. As a result, the school witnessed a reduction of number of unwanted pregnancy from 6 in 2013 to two in 2016.
Parents complained so long of this problem which destroy the bright future of their daughters, and partnership between both school administration and parents helped to raise awareness among these teenage girls of how they can master their periods to escape from unwanted pregnancies.
All started with school matrons in Girl’s room (Icyumba cy’umukobwa), which is an equipped room to assist girls in period. “The Girl’s room” (Icyumba Cy’umukobwa) in schools offers a safe haven for any girl who has unexpectedly gone into her period or any female with menstruation period related issues. The room is equipped with sanitary pads, towels, pain killers, a bed, water, soap etc. and for the girls who cannot afford to buy sanitary pads, the respective school provides them for the duration of the period; free of charge.
Dorothy Mukamzimpaka explains more, on how they manage to help these girls to be unwanted pregnancy free. She says that they teach and monitor these girls’ management of menstruation cycle through menstrual card for every girl in the school which themselves fill every day so as to know reproduction period.
Matron Dorothy Mukamazimpaka says “We have introduced a specific room for girls in menstruation cycle equipped with many different helpful stuffs like menstruation hygienic paper, brand new underwear but what is important is both calendar and menstruation card for every girl in the school which help us to do a follow up of every girl in reproduction days that we call “red days”.
She adds that they have established external anti-pregnancy club’Tubarere neza’for it was difficult to control day schoolgirls who are filling their red days on menstruation cycle card for they leave after lessons. She explains how their communicate the information from menstruation card to the parent members of anti-pregancy club,Tubarere neza.
The internal anti-pregnancy club namely ”Ejo heza” which means the bright future is made up of 112(four in each class)girls in the school headed by two matrons who act like coordinator while external club namely “Tubarere neza” is composed of 80 mothers plus day school daughters. Both internal and external clubs regularly share information, and have a meeting at the end of each term.
Students and parents know about menstrual cycle
Nyiraneza Martha, a P6 student knows what the cycle is. She says, “The menstrual cycle is when the body prepares for a possible pregnancy by several successive stages. My menstrual cycle starts with the first day of my period (usually lasting 2 to 7 days) and ends with the beginning of my next period, which also marks the birth of a new cycle …, unless interrupted by pregnancy”.
On average, a cycle lasts 28 days: 14 days before ovulation, and 14 days the end of cycle; but varies greatly from individual women, it can last from 25 to 35 days, adds Niraneza.
Together with parents, assisted by matrons, they know how to determine the date of ovulation. Ms Kamanzi, one of mothers defines ovulation. “ It takes place once a month, 14 days before the start of menstruation. It is when the mature ovum is expelled from the ovary”.
Her daughter of S2, says, “ My mother helped me know my fertility, that extends from 4 days before ovulation, and up to 24 hours after (thus 5 days), but she advised to keep 8 days for my safety. if for example the period is scheduled for the 27th of the month, I take 27-14 = 13, and conclude ovulation will be on the 13th of the same month”.
Matron Florence argues there are other ways to determine ovulation date, by urinary ovulation tests or by measuring the temperature curve, but says always daughters use the above mentioned methods.
Menstrual check card
As it is difficult for teachers to advice and control day school girls in reproduction period, information is shared from menstruation check card filled from school then parents check it every day. They help so much to control the behavior of their daughters while they are not at school, as part of their responsibility.
Matron Mukamazimpaka complements that the partnership between both internal and external anti-pregnancy clubs resulted into a helpful tool of reducing unwanted pregnancies among Musave School girls.
Jane Cyomuhangi, is aged 19, she is in senior six she told us how the introduction of anti-pregnancy club outside the school facilitates them to have continuous advisers.“Since the introduction of Tubarere neza, we have benefited the access to the advices after school, our parents contribute and compliment to what we have learnt in our school club. Parents continue to help us during holidays owing to what they have learnt from our matron. My colleagues and I feel more comfortable when our parents are around, we feel happy to see them interested in helping us to fight against unwanted pregnancy”, she says.
When this parenting role was absent, teachers were helpless and pregnancy cases were common in GS Musave. But now the number decreased from 6 in 2013 to 2 in 2016. During two first terms 2017, no case was observed there, due to partnership. Without parents’ advices, young girls remain ignorant, which results in early pregnancies.
Jean Baptiste Karegeya