The Network of Reproductive Health Journalists Nigeria (NRHJN), Lagos State Chapter, has charged the federal and state governments, including the private sector, to prioritise the menstrual health of adolescent school girls in the country.
The state coordinator, Ms. Kikelomo Oduyebo, gave the charge at the sensitization for several adolescent girls at the Iju Senior Grammar School, Obawole, in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State on the adoption of good hygiene during their menstrual periods.
The event which was in commemoration of the 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day and the second in a series saw the group debunking several myths, stereotypes, and stigma associated with menstruation.
Oduyebo said government and the private sector should proiritise the menstrual health and hygiene of adolescent girls by subsidising the cost of sanitary pads to make them more affordable and accessible to school girls particularly those who are indigent and vulnerable.
According to Oduyebo, the Menstrual Hygiene Day is a public health education programme in bridging the communication gap on sexual and reproductive health issues for adolescent girls so as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 1, 3, 4, and 5 on zero period poverty, good health and wellbeing, quality education and gender equality for school girls as well end stereotypes, stigma, and taboos associated with menstruation.
The CEO, of SPMC, Ms. Anike-Ade Funke Treasure, who described the Campaign as a response to the increasing rate of out-of-school girls in Nigeria, said the primary aim was to one to ensure that pads get into the hands of more girls on a consistent basis.
In her speech read by the NHRJN Treasurer, Ms. Julie Ekong, Treasure said the SPMC identified a consistent supply of good sanitary pads as a way of enhancing good menstrual health and promoting period dignity.
According to her, the target in the first phase of the pad scholarship it initiated is to meet the sanitary pad needs of 1,000 school-aged girls in vulnerable communities across Nigeria.
A consultant physician) Adolescent Health Unit coordinator of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr, Yeside Shogbamimu, who spoke on “Menstrual Hygiene as Gateway to Total Health” urged the students to see their monthly cycle as part of their biological process without shame.“
Also speaking, the adolescent health officer, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr Adeola Obasanya, encouraged the students to always talk to their parents, and inform their parents for support during their periods, especially if it’s painful process.
In her presentation entitled: “Why Adolescent Girls Need Support System at Home, School, and the Society during Menstruation” Obasanya tutored the girls on safe ways to dispose of their sanitary pads which she said should best be changed every six hours.
The school principal, Mrs. Olabisi Shyllon appreciated the gesture and assured that the students would always have access to good toilet facilities with a water supply and a robust support system in school during their menstrual periods.
She added that no girl child would have any cause to miss school activities during their menstruation nor endure stigma or stereotypes under her watch.
A high point of the event was the distribution of 100 reusable sanitary pads donated by the Sanitary Pads Media Campaign (SPMC) in its promotion of menstrual hygiene and campaign against period poverty.
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