Mrs Mercy Acquah-Hayford, Country Coordinator of Inerela+ Ghana, a nongovernmental organisation (NGO), has appealed to parents especially mothers, to show concern towards the adolescent needs of their children.
She said some parents often neglected the social, psychological and physiological needs of their children, which often led them astray as they sought support from the wrong people.
“In areas like Jamestown, Chorkor, and Agbogbloshie, it has become a trend that when girls ask their mothers for sanitary pads, they tell them, can’t you find money to buy your own pad, at this your age?
“Some of the parents say this is how we came up and survived, so you should also do the same. But that is very wrong.
“How then can such a girl practise menstrual hygiene? Because if she is able to buy one pad by succumbing to abuse or sexual harassment from a man, will she use either one a day or two a day, even when it needs constant changing,” she said.
She made the appeal on Thursday, when the NGO joined the rest of the world to mark the “World Menstrual Hygiene Day” which falls on May 28 of every year, to educate females on the condition and help them with basic sanitary needs.
As part of the commemoration, Inerela+ Ghana distributed sanitary pads to hundreds of female adolescents and older women and male condoms to men in the Agbogbloshie and Old Fadama communities.
Mrs Acquah-Hayford, who is also a retired Nurse from the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, said as a result of modernisation and education, the myth around menstruation that intimidated and made women less important, such as being denied the ability to cook for her family nor worship, was broken.
She explained that not changing used pads on time within a day while menstruating, could cause varied medical conditions such as infertility and infections including candidiasis.
“I am appealing to you, try to change your pads every four hours and bath at least twice daily. When you wash your panties, dry them in the sun and not in your rooms or roofed porches.
“Those who use second hand panties, just make sure you wash it in a warm water, dry in the sun and iron before using it,” she advised.
She also entreated the women to desist from inserting their fingers into their vaginas while bathing, in the name of washing them well, as it could leave them with infections.
“Please stop using any kind of herbal medications you get, so you could reduce the abdominal pains you experience while menstruating because trust me, that can make you infertile in future. So that you don’t go to call your old grandmother names for bewitching you, when you might have caused it yourself with negligence,” she added.
Mrs Acquah-Hayford told the female adolescents that instead of resorting to taking pain killers every month to reduce menstrual pains, they should try to wet towels in a warm water and place it on their abdomen.
She also advised them not to dispose of used sanitary pads openly, as that could spread infections and encouraged them to rather wrap them neatly before disposing of.
Speaking about diet, the Country Coordinator explained that it was important to eat balanced diet, and drink a lot of water while in the menstrual period to replenish the lost blood.
Nii Ashie Kotey, the Assembly Member for the Korle Dedor Electoral Area, expressed profound gratitude to Inerela Ghana for taking risk even as the nation battled COVID-19 to embark on such a house-to-house sensitisation and supportive exercise.
He said teenage pregnancy is a challenge many communities face due to the physiological needs they were deprived of.
“Other problems the youth here face is lack of accommodation, which lure some of them into contributing to rent and share a single room and others, moving in to stay with men just to earn a living,” he said.
He appealed to government to support the youth in the community, especially in the area of accommodation so that they could have secured lives.