Lack of WASH facilities, improper waste disposal undermine menstrual hygiene
A Medical Practitioner, Dr. Gbemisola Daramola, says poor menstrual education, both at home and in schools, remains one of the challenges facing the girl-child in Nigeria.
He stated this at a sensitisation programme centred on menstrual hygiene, organised by an NGO, The Female Professionals’ Book Club, for selected secondary school students in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme, themed, “Discussion on Menstrual Hygiene: A Basic Health Right”, held at Oba Akinbiyi Model High School, Ibadan, was in commemoration of the 2023 World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
NAN also reports that the day is observed on May 28 annually, majorly because the menstrual cycle is an average of 28 days in length, with people menstruating on an average of five days every month.
The medical expert noted that poor menstrual health and hygiene undercut fundamental rights, including the right to work and go to school, for women and girls.
Dr. Daramola said most girls learned about menstrual periods from their friends, rather than from the appropriate quarters, such as from their mothers and female school teachers.
According to her, insufficient resources and facilities in schools, such as good toilets, water, soap and proper waste disposal facilities to manage menstruation, as well as patterns of exclusion and shame, undermine human dignity.
“Findings have shown that many students do not have access to adequate materials to take care of themselves, thus making them to use clothes, tissue paper and other inappropriate materials during the menstrual cycle,” she said.
Dr. Daramola cautioned that poor menstrual hygiene could lead to infections in the genital parts and the entire body’s reproductive system, adding that this could result in social embarrassment due to offensive odour.
Also speaking, the Founder of the club, Mrs. Ezinne Ibe, said that the awareness was aimed at exposing the students to the importance of good menstrual hygiene and why mensuration should not be a hindrance to a smooth academic process.
She noted that many students stay away from school during their menstrual period because they cannot afford good sanitary pads.
She said that a total of 200 students were selected from seven different schools in Ibadan North Local Government Area, to benefit from the pilot phase of the programme.
Also, a member of the NGO, Mrs. Sylvia Oyinlola, said that the sensitisation would eradicate the myths and taboos surrounding the menstrual period.
Oyinlola urged the government to make adequate provision for good toilets, with constant water supply, in all the public schools across the state.
The Local Inspector of Education in the LGA, Mr. Lukman Okesade, said that the programme would reawaken the zeal of the female students to read.
He urged them to imbibe a good reading habits in order to become relevant in future.
One of the students from Oba Akinbiyi Model High School, Adebisi Akande, said the programme had increased her knowledge about menstrual hygiene management, as well as how to be clean and safe during her menstrual period.
NAN reports that the programme featured the distribution of sanitary pads to the students, lectures and question-and-answer sessions, among others. (NAN)