Home Health ActionAid Emphasizes Importance of Sanitary Pad Access for Female School Attendance

ActionAid Emphasizes Importance of Sanitary Pad Access for Female School Attendance

Health Menstrual Hygiene
Health Menstrual Hygiene

Madam Abiba Nibaradun, the Upper West Regional Programme Manager of ActionAid Ghana (AAG), has indicated that access to sanitary pad by school girls was key in ensuring equity in access to quality education between females and their male counterparts.

She said this was because difficulty in accessing sanitary pads by some girls, particularly at the basic level adversely affected their effective participation in teaching and learning as they missed out of school during their menstrual periods.

She observed with worry that some girls engaged in amorous relationships with men against their will to get money to buy sanitary products due to lack of money to buy sanitary pads during menstruation.

Madam Nibaradun said this at Jirapa on the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day under the theme: “Together for a #PeriodFriendlyWorld”.

The commemoration started with a float along principal streets of Jirapa with over a hundred people including members of the AAG’s Young Urban Women Movement and the Girls’ Empowerment and Advocacy Platforms from Basic Schools across Jirapa and Lambussie participating in the march.

They wielded placards with the inscriptions “A sanitary pad to someone makes a difference. Donate a pad and not humiliation; Don’t laugh when I soil myself with menstrual blood, support me cover up when I am stained” among others.

Madam Nibaradun said her interactions with some girls in some Basic Schools in the  Jirapa and Lambussie districts revealed that girls who could not afford sanitary pads stayed out of school during their menstrual periods for fear of humiliation and stigma should they stain their cloths.

She explained that in the 21st century, sanitary pad price hikes and stigma associated with menstruation still hindered many girls, particularly in the rural communities from enjoying fully, their right to quality education.

The least price of a sanitary pad in the open market is GhȻ15.00, which Madam Nibaradun attributed to the high taxes on imported sanitary pads and raw materials imported for its production.

“It is expected that for a nation like Ghana with more than 50 per cent of its population being female, the prices of sanitary products should have been very affordable in the market to support women and girls during menstruation”, she explained.

The AAG Regional Boss condemned the myth that girls and women in their menstrual periods could not cook for some people to eat, go to certain places, or not to eat certain foods.

Madam Nibaradun said ActionAid had, in the past years, distributed re-usable sanitary pads to over 600 basic school girls who were members of the advocacy platforms in the Jirapa, Sissala and Lambussie districts to support their retention in school.

She appealed to stakeholders and benevolent individuals and organisations to help provide sanitary pads to support girls, particularly those in rural communities, to enable them to maintain personal hygiene during menstruation and to stay in school within that period.

ActionAid also distributed 100 reusable sanitary pads to the girls at the event to help reduce absenteeism among girls during menstruation.

Some of the girls who spoke to the Ghana News Agency expressed gratitude to AAG for the support as it would enable them stay in school during their menstrual periods.

Madam Florence Darimaani, the Adolescent Focal Person at the Jirapa Municipal Health Directorate, educated the girls on personal hygiene management during menstruation.

Madam Lydia Ninberewe, the Jirapa Municipal Gender Desk Officer, advised the girls to extend the menstrual hygiene knowledge to their peers and urged parents to provide menstrual hygiene needs for their children when necessary.

She also advised the girls not to use poverty as an excuse to request sanitary pads from men who would in turn ask for sex and eventually truncate their life dreams and aspirations.

Mr Huudu Kunaateh, the Jirapa Municipal Director of Education, observed that some people stigmatise menstruating girls or women to the extent that they felt less of a human, which he described as unfortunate.

He thanked AAG for its continuous support to the education sector in the municipality to help improve education, especially for the girl child.

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