Friday, 29th September 2023

2500 girls benefit from menstrual hygiene outreach

Geared towards ending the struggle low-income women and girls face while trying to afford menstrual products (period poverty), A Pad For Her Initiative has executed its maiden outreach

Girls from the school

Geared towards ending the struggle low-income women and girls face while trying to afford menstrual products (period poverty), A Pad For Her Initiative has executed its maiden outreach in the Southwestern states of Nigeria.

Held simultaneously in selected schools in Lagos, Oyo and Osun states, the girl students were enlightened on their bodies, how to break the silence on menstruation, and prevent non-sexual vaginal infections.

In the three states, students from Isabatudeen Girls Grammar School, Lagelu, Ibadan; St. Annes School 1, Molete; Baptist Girls High School, Osogbo, and Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School, Yaba, Lagos, benefited.

According to the founder of the initiative, Deborah Oludimu, before the outreaches, the initiative has been committed to leveraging the online space and social media to educate women and girls about their monthly cycles, urging them to dump harmful practices and pick up healthier ones in a bid to reach Sustainable Development Goals 1 (no poverty), 3 (good health and well-being), and 10 (reduced inequality) by the proposed 2030.

“Hence, we held a 25-day fundraiser to get support for the programme from individuals and organisations. For 25 days, we mobilised the funding needed for action at a scale, by enlightening the public about period poverty, and why it is a public health issue that we should all care about.

“In a medical outreach, we visited the Bodija Market in Ibadan in conjunction with our partners at the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Oyo chapter, we provided the market women with a community sensitisation and one on one consultation with the medical personnel from the MWAN.”

“We were able to equip about 200 women with better knowledge on how to manage their periods. We urged them to be more open about menstruation and feminine health so we can together break the silence and make menstruation a normal part of life by 2030.

“We also provided women with safe analgesics and period care products as an alternative to tissue and clothes, which they are used to.”

The highlight of the menstrual hygiene week was a webinar organised by the initiative, where seasoned speakers were hosted.

While speaking on managing menstrual irregularities, Coordinator, Young Doctors Forum, Dr. Adejoke Osuntokun, debunked a plethora of myths that had been rife in the menstrual information space.

According to her, diarrhoea during periods is not normal, nor is blood clotting, which multiple women experience and ignorantly dubbed as normal.

She urged ladies to desist from self-medicating dysmenorrhea, saying if birth control pills have to be used, they have to be recommended by a doctor.

Another speaker, a Psychiatrist, Dr. Toyosi Ogunfowora discussed menstruation and Mental Health.

She noted that menstruation could affect mental health and vice versa once they have a bi-directional relationship, adding that they are only diagnosed when the symptoms seem to be cyclic as opposed to other mental health challenges.

Oludimu added, “Period poverty persists because the culture of silence that exists around menstruation tends to veil the problem of period poverty and as such, these girls that suffer from it cannot receive the needed help and are at risk of urinary tract infections and other health risks, not to mention skipping school and regular activities.

“We are committed to reducing period poverty drastically because we believe that no girl should be held back by a period of poverty and every girl deserves a period of dignity. Menstrual Hygiene is a human right and we’re committed to seeing this materialise in Nigeria.”