Many girls in the Eastern region have been retained in school after receiving sanitary pads from Plan International Ghana, a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) while observing this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The usual dropping out of school every month for some periods was reversed when the NGO distributed over 4,000 sanitary pads to girls in schools in the Okere District in the Region.
Beneficiary communities were Okrakwadwo, Mintakrom, Beware, Asenema and Krutiase.
Dr Augustine Ankuvie, the Okere District Health Director, said some girls in the area had dropped out of school and others had gotten pregnant in the municipality due to lack of sanitary pads.
The negative social norm, he said, affected girls’ health, safety and dignity, and kept them out of school, a situation that prevented them from getting equal education opportunities.
Dr Ankuvie said the gesture had therefore given them assurance of the return of some of the girls to school at least for the periods they had gotten sanitary pads for, and commended Plan International Ghana for the intervention which was timely.
Madam Lillian Bruce, the Gender Specialist, Plan International Ghana, addressing the gathering at Okrakwadwo, bemoaned how many of the girls had stopped schooling due to the negative social norms surrounding menstrual hygiene management and lack of access to sanitary pads.
She said the gesture was to help the girls meet some of their needs as they went through their menstrual cycle, especially in the rural communities where they could not afford the sanitary pads.
The Gender Specialist urged traditional leaders and authorities to educate society to break the silence and taboo, raise awareness and change negative social norms surrounding menstrual hygiene management, especially among the male counterparts.