Student girls appeal for part of DACF for menstrual hygiene management

Health Menstrual Hygiene
Health Menstrual Hygiene

Student girls in the Upper East Region have appealed to the government to allocate part of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to the management of menstrual health and hygiene for the health and dignity of women and girls.

Such a move would ensure that the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies were able to provide the required Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities at public places to help women and girls manage menstruation hygienically and with dignity.

“District Chief Executives present, we call on you to devote at least one percent of DACF to supporting menstrual hygiene management and this include investment in WASH friendly facilities in schools and public places, general sensitisation and sexual and reproductive health education programmes”.

Students from the Basina Junior High School in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality made this call in a communique presented to Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister at this year’s commemoration of the Menstrual Hygiene Day held in Bolgatanga.

It was organised by WaterAid Ghana, a WASH focused organisation with funding support from the Global Affairs Canada and Ms Regina Kwose, a form three student at the school read the communique on behalf of her colleagues.

The communique noted that many schools did not have sustainable WASH facilities and changing rooms to enable girls who were menstruating to manage the phenomenon properly and be able to stay in school.

That had led to many girls missing school during their menstruation periods and others dropping out of school completely.

It said, “to manage menstruation hygienically and with dignity, it is essential that women and girls have access to water and sanitation, a private place to change sanitary clothes or pads, clean water and soap for washing their hands, bodies and reusable clothes and facilities for safely disposing used materials or a clean place to dry them if reusable”.

It stressed that the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Health Service and stakeholders needed to intensify education in schools to ensure that teachers were aware of menstrual and other reproductive health issues to enable them support girls and female teachers in their time of need.

The communique noted that taboos and other sociocultural beliefs had also denied women and girls access to menstrual hygiene and there was the need to modify dehumanising and discriminating norms to help fight stigmatisation.

“Menstruation is a natural process, but in most parts of the world it is a taboo and rarely talked about. We are calling on our revered traditional leaders to support disabusing the myths, taboos and the negative attitude towards girls during menstruation,” it added.

Ms Yvonne Wonchua, the Regional Gender Desk Officer at the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, who received the communique on behalf of the Regional Minister, pledged to forward the call to the appropriate authorities.
She expressed the hope that their concerns would be addressed to enhance girl child education.

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