Group seeks end to taboo, stigma, donates sanitary pads to FCT schoolgirls
A Civil Society Organization, Word Alive International Center (WACI), has stressed the need for society to end cultures that vilify menstruation and perceive menstrual blood as impure.
According to the organisation, menstrual health is an integral part of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and should not be condemned.
The Executive Director, of WACI, Chinyere Abba, stated during the donation of packs of sanitary pads to girls of Government Secondary School, Dutse, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the weekend.
Abba, who announced the donation on her 44th birthday, decried the lack of access to hygienic menstrual products and education among secondary school girls across the country.
She maintained that the intervention was aimed at helping the school girls to remain focused on their education and not absent from school during their monthly period.
She said: “I was born with a silver spoon but somewhere along the line, life happened to my family. Everything went up from up to down to the point that we couldn’t feed anymore. I was rejected and abandoned by people until God intervened. Within that period as well, I couldn’t afford a menstrual pad and whenever I am on my period, I use my mother’s old rapper. And then after the period, I wash it and keep it for the next month.
“I felt that instead of doing parties, I decided to donate to the less privileged girls who couldn’t afford a pad.
“I want to call in well-meaning Nigerians that instead of waiting for the government to do what you can do, there are things we can do as individuals to make a difference. No matter how small, we should do whatever we can do in our own capacity while waiting for government.”
She stressed the need for society to end the stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation, adding that the belief was hindering the fight against period poverty.
Abba added: “I don’t know why there is still this taboo surrounding the menstrual period. Menstruation is a biological development in the life of every female. I don’t think there should be a taboo. Hence, there should be a kind of sensitisation in terms of awareness, health talks, symposiums, and seminars, so we can lift the lid concerning menstrual health.
“Fabrics are made with chemicals and I think for that reason, it might not be very healthy for use. There are issues where people get infections from using fabric.”
The Principal of the school, Ezendu Blessing, while thanking the organisation for supporting the students’ menstrual hygiene, urged the government to subsidise the cost of sanitary pads to make it affordable for young ladies.
She stressed that the use of fabric was not hygienic for women during the menstrual period.
“Aside from sensitisation, there should be subsidy on pads just like they are subsidising other things. This will reduce the burden on parents and the girl child.
“The world is becoming a global village. Our students know about pads. They don’t have anything to do with taboo. But then, the government can keep on sensitising students to the need for them to use sanitary pad while menstruating. ”