GES and other agencies to support local affordable sanitary pads

Health Menstrual Hygiene
Health Menstrual Hygiene

The Ghana Education Service (GES) Monday said it is planning with some agencies to support local and affordable interventions in providing sanitary pads.

Dr Kwabena B. Tandoh, the Deputy Director-General for Quality and Access, GES, gave the assurance that the Service had already engaged the relevant stakeholders to help end “period poverty” experienced by girls and some women.
Period poverty is a lack of access to menstrual products, education, hygiene facilities, waste management, or a combination of these.

It affects an estimated 500 million people worldwide.

At a commemorative event, organised by the GES to mark the 2023 Menstrual Hygiene Day in Accra, Dr Tandoh, called for the elimination of the 20 per cent import tax on sanitary pads to make it accessible and affordable to girls and women.

The Day allows health organisations, professionals, and women to speak up on menstruation-related issues to help find solutions.

The 2023 Menstrual Hygiene Day is on the theme: “We are Committed”, with the overarching goal to build a world where no one is held back because they menstruate.

According to the World Bank, as many as 500 million women and girls across the globe lacked access to basic menstrual products and hygienic bathroom facilities for use during their menstrual cycles.

Mr Ramesh Bhusal, the Country Deputy Representative, UNICEF Ghana, said: “We need to invest in every adolescent girl’s future with more gender-friendly sanitation facilities in schools, adequate nutrition, and information for girls and boys.”

He called for mainstreaming Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and adolescent reproductive health education in the curriculum to provide equal access to information for girls and boys.

“UNICEF invites the Government and private sector to substantially reduce the prices of sanitary pads and other materials for girls and women, whether they are produced locally or imported,” he added.

The event also had a panel discussion with participants drawn from faith-based organisations, the private sector, government agencies, and civil society organisations to deliberate on promoting menstrual hygiene in Ghana.

Dr Louisa Mantey, the District Director, Ayawaso West, Ghana Health Service, said the office had helped in the promotion of menstrual hygiene by distributing 4000 sanitary pads and strengthening health promotional activities through social and behavioral communication.

“Just as condoms have been made less expensive to allow people to adopt healthier and safer sexual practices, menstrual hygiene products should also be made cheap because, unlike sex, girls could not prevent their monthly flow,” she said.

Ms Shamima Muslim, the Menstrual Hygiene Management Ambassador and Convener, Alliance for Women in Media Africa, urged the media to intensify the awareness creation on proper clinical management practices to promote menstrual hygiene.

To enforce the impact of the proposed elimination and reduction of the 20 per cent import tax on sanitary pads, she suggested that the production of sanitary pads locally must be explored.

Sheikh Ali Napari, a representative of Light Foundation, recommended that sermons on menstrual hygiene must be included in their religious activities to promote awareness and clear all myths surrounding menstruation.

Mrs Mavis Leonards, the Chief Executive Officer, Global Sky Limited, Novalle Ebullience Limited, a leading integrated security company Ghana, said calls to eliminate the import duty on sanitary pads were in the right direction but all the stakeholders must ensure that it reflected in their pricing to create uniformity.

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