Access to safe and hygienic menstrual products and a conducive environment to use them are essential to preventing shame or stigma attached to menstruation.
Therefore, concerted efforts are needed to ensure the availability of these menstrual products and a conducive environment for their usage.
The absence of these, thus, pose potential health risks, to many girls, which impact negatively on their education and well-being
Ms Effie Grant, Reading Chapter Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, UK Branch, said this when she led the group to present 800 packs of sanitary pads to Mr Stephen Pambiin Jalulah, the Member of Parliament for Pru West Constituency.
The donation is part of activities to commemorate the International Women’s Day and the pads would be distributed to girls within the Pru West Constituency to promote proper menstrual hygiene management among the students.
International Women’s Day is observed annually on March 08 to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
Ms Grant said the chapter was aware of the challenges that girls in rural communities faced during their menstrual period and its impact on their participation in school activities.
She said the inability of some girls to afford sanitary pads, coupled with the lack of adequate and hygienic sanitary facilities, including toilets, discouraged many young girls in rural communities from going to school during that period.
Ms Grant appealed to teachers to continuously educate both girls and boys on menstrual hygiene and its significance to help create awareness and eliminate stigmatisation.
“Reading Chapter took on this fundraising effort in the bid to do our part. On behalf of our chairman, Isaac Banie, I say thank you to the chapter and the NPP – UK Branch for their support. We can be proud that what we have achieved can see about 250 girls staying in school for three months. The benefits are extremely significant,” she said.
Ms Grant was accompanied by Mr Jojo Blankson, the First Vice-Chair of the UK branch of the NPP, and former chair of the Reading Chapter.
Mr Blankson applauded the Government for increasing enrolment of girls in school through the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme.
Dr Gideon Asamoah Tetteh, a Senior Official at the Ministry of Roads and Highways, who received the items on behalf of Mr Jalulah, commended the group for the gesture and assured of distributing the items to the targeted beneficiaries.
Menstruation (menses) is the natural process of releasing blood and associated matter from the uterus through the vagina as part of the menstrual cycle.
It is estimated that about 1.8 billion girls and women of reproductive age menstruate monthly.
The UNESCO describes menstrual hygiene as: “accurate and timely knowledge; available, safe, and affordable materials; informed and comfortable professionals; referral and access to health services; sanitation and washing facilities; positive social norms; safe and hygienic disposal; and advocacy and policy.”
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 acknowledges the right to menstrual health and hygiene.
The Goal stipulates that by 2030, nations must achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.