Sanitary facilities in primary schools are inadequate

August 16, 2001

Letter: National guidelines are needed to provide sanitary facilities in primary schools BMJ Volume 323, p 398

Provision of sanitary facilities in primary schools is inadequate, despite recent evidence that almost one in eight girls start their periods while still at primary school, according to a letter in this week's BMJ.

Researchers in Bath sent a questionnaire to 344 randomly selected primary schools throughout the United Kingdom. Although sanitary towels could be obtained in 90% of schools, they were generally only available from an adult (teacher, secretary, or school nurse). Only 1% of schools had a machine in the girls toilets. Disposal facilities were available within an individual cubicle in only 43% of girls toilets.

Unless there are national guidelines, girls will continue to be poorly provided for, say the authors. Although the cost of providing facilities is an issue, particularly for smaller primary schools, parents, school nurses and paediatricians could help advocate for these girls by lobbying both local authorities and central government, they conclude.


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