This rapid evidence review (RER) was commissioned to answer the research question: How and what do girls aged 10-14 years know about puberty and menstruation in LMICs? This review of the evidence represents an opportunity for learning. It is the first attempt that the authors are aware of to conduct a systematic description of the evidence – across a range of evidence types – relating to young (10-14years) adolescent females. There is an understanding that significant proportions of girls in LMICs attain menarche without any understanding of what is happening to them or how to manage it. To date, however, there has not been a systematic synthesis of the evidence about girls’ experience of knowledge (content, source, timing) about puberty, including menstruation. This review provides a base for future research. A key challenge for LMIC societies, policy-makers and programme managers is how to best support adolescent girls through adolescence, from pre-adolescence to early adulthood. The RER identifies gaps that future evidence must address in order to develop a better evidence base for decisionmakers.
The RER systematically examines work published in English between 2006 and 2016 using a systematic approach to the evidence search in order to maximise replicability, transparency and the potential for future updating and expansion. The systematic search generated 7,758 items, of which 15 met the inclusion criteria. An additional 44 studies were identified as relevant, meeting all of the inclusion criteria apart from age. The RER reviews both included and relevant studies (n=59). Studies were not excluded on the basis of quality.