Mr Daniel Mumuni, Country Director of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has called on government to reduce the 20 per cent tax on sanitary pads in the country to enable girls have easy access to them.
He noted that the natural process for young girls in the journey of monthly menstruation had been complicated by high cost of sanitary pads, forcing them to resort to other materials that were not hygienic.
Mr Mumuni made the call at this year’s commemoration of the Global Menstrual Hygiene Day in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, organised in partnership with the Talensi, Nabdam and Mamprugu-Moaduri districts, the Upper East Regional Education Service (GES)and some Non-Governmental –Organizations(NGOs).
The day, which was also marked with a street float by school children from the three districts welded placards labeled, “no menstruation, no procreation “, Good personal and menstrual hygiene go hand in hand”, “Increase investments in school water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure to cater for privacy and dignity of girls and women” among others.
He noted that as a natural phenomenon, menstruation was a significant component of women developmental and reproductive processes and it was crucial for government and decision makers to lighten the burden of the journey experienced by girls in the procurement and use of pads.
The Country Director said the burden of accessing menstrual pads was driving some girls to exchange sex for money in many communities.
As part of global efforts and this year’s theme, “We are committed, “the Country Director called on stakeholders to be more committed to demonstrating support for menstrual health and hygiene and not just the annual colourful events.
“It is still common to see women being prevented from cooking for families during menstruation, girls being mocked at when they stain their clothes with blood and little or no support for women or girls who suffer from menstrual cramps,” the Country Director said.
He called on households to support their partners and girl children in managing household chores during menstruation and encouraged traditional authorities and community leaders to help demystify menstruation by crating enabling environment for positive attitudes towards menstruating girls and women.
Miss Agnes Aloara, 17 years and Danis Sohiyin, 16 years, all in year three at the Salvation Army Junior High school in the Talensi District, thanked CRS for supporting their school with menstrual hygiene materials.
According to Miss Aloara, CRS had provided the girls in the school a water, sanitation and hygiene facility which included a pad changing room and mini incinerators.
Mr Danis Sohiyini also expressed gratitude to CRS for helping the girls in his school and noted that it improved girls’ daily attendance to school.
Meanwhile, the West Mamprusi District took the first position in a quiz organized for the participating districts, followed by the Talensi District and Mamprugu Moaduri District came third.
The participating districts were presented with cartons of sanitation pad, exercise books and cowbell products.