We must work to end stigma around menstruation – AGL Manager

Mrs Kuutor (right) presenting a paper bag containing sanitary pads to Miss Odumaa Adjoa Precious, Girls Prefect, Huni-Valley SHS
Mrs Kuutor (right) presenting a paper bag containing sanitary pads to Miss Odumaa Adjoa Precious, Girls Prefect, Huni-Valley SHS

Mrs Catherine Kuupol Kuutor, the Acting General Manager of Abosso Goldfields Limited (AGL), has entreated Ghanaians to break myths and taboos to end stigma surrounding menstruation.

“Today, millions of women around the world are stigmatized, excluded, and discriminated simply because they menstruate,” she revealed.

Mrs Kuutor said this when AGL through the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation (GFGF) collaborated with the Women in Mining (WIM) and Ladies in Mining and Allied Professions (LiMAP-Gh) to celebrate the 2022 world Menstrual Hygiene Day with students at Huni-Valley Senior High School (SHS) in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality.

According to the Acting General Manager, the purpose of the collaboration was to promote this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day which was on the theme: “Making Menstruation a Normal Fact of Life by 2030” by harnessing the experiences of women professionals in the mining industry.

“The day’s commemoration also emphasized on removing the barriers to menstruation in schools and establishing the fact that every female who menstruated should be able to manage her menstrual cycle with dignity and comfort,” Mrs Kuutor indicated.

She added that to contribute to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), that is, “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all,” the appropriate and necessary approaches for students (girlchildren) to manage their menstruation with dignity must be put in place.

Mrs Kuutor announced that to establish their commitment, the Foundation would be distributing free sanitary pads to every girl/lady to alleviate the stress and cost of sanitary pads during menstruation.

The move is also meant to highlight the major health hazards associated with using other unapproved materials.
Mrs Kuutor said the mine believed that the lack of a safe place to menstruate, medication to alleviate menstruation related pain and inability to manage menstrual hygiene, could contribute to greater rates of school absenteeism and poor academic performances among female students, she stated.

She said studies had shown that, school attendance and performance of girls deteriorated when they were unable to appropriately manage menstruation in school, adding, unlike in the past, women were now offered equal opportunities at work and to fill roles previously reserved for men.

Mrs Kuutor explained that “Abosso Goldfields Limited has adopted and is working toward achieving 30 per cent women proportion in its workforce by 2030. This also contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 5 – increasing the proportion of women in the workforce.

“Women made up 16 percent of the population in 2016, rising to 21 percent in 2020 and on track to reach 30 percent by 2030. To achieve this, more ladies are encouraged to pursue science related courses in schools” she advised.
Educating the students on menstrual hygiene, Mrs Anna Tommy, Municipal Public Health Nurse in Prestea Huni-Valley, encouraged them to eat well-nourished diets and drink a lot water to ensure what they take in digest well.

“Wash your vulva with clean water every time you change your sanitary towel. Do not put your hand in because you may introduce infection there. After washing make sure you keep the place dry and then you can change your sanitary towel,” she added.

Mrs Tommy entreated the students that once they changed their under pads, they should wash their hands with soap under running water and bath regularly during menstruation.

Mrs Pearl Arkoh, Senior House Mistress, Huni-Valley Senior High School expressed appreciation to AGL for organizing the programme in her school and encouraged the students not to miss classes or examination because of menstruation.
Professor Grace Ofori-Sarpong, Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, and President of LiMAP-Gh implored the students to take their studies seriously, be determined, focused and work towards it.

Nana Ama Saarah I, Queenmother of Subri Divisional Area, together with Mrs Naomi Koduah Tismark, Girl Child Coordinator, Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality, asked the students to practise what they had been taught to help promote good menstrual hygiene.

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