Menstruation is a normal biological process and a key sign of reproductive health in women and girls. Sadly, in many cultures menstruation is perceived and treated as something negative, shameful or dirty and with continued silence.
This is combined with limited access to information at home and in schools resulting in millions of women and girls having very little knowledge about what happens to their bodies when they menstruate and knowledge on how to manage their periods safely.
Menstruation is usually a period every girl and woman look-forward to because of its significance and anxiety which accompanies its consequences and outcomes.
The period elicits anxiety despite signifying the attainment of adolescence by girls, as this anxiety is heightened due to the flow of blood during menstruation periods.
The stains during period has become a source of worry for girls as it creates fear and often times make many absent from schools, workplaces among others due to the stains on their cloths. Sarauniya G Usman writes…
Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) practices vary worldwide and depend on the individual’s socioeconomic status, personal preferences, local traditions and beliefs, and access to water and sanitation resources.
worldwide, women and girls,their menstruation is a monthly occurrence and most young girls know nothing about menstruation prior to the beginning.
Young girls in some schools do not even have access to facilities and adequate sensitisation to promote hygiene among themselves.
Experts in the education sector are urging the government to provide basic facilities ,such as adequate water ,and toilet facilities to maintain high level of hygiene among girls,especially during the menstrual cycle .
The Co-founder of ‘Give Girls a Chance Foundation,Dr Hauwa Balami made the disclosure while on an outreach on menstrual hygiene campaign to student of Junior secondary school ,Durumi ,Abuja .
According to her,the essence of the outreach was to promote menstrual hygiene among girls. “menstrual hygiene campaign is part of the school improvement programme for girls to have access to Water,sanitation and hygiene and to wash”.”We want the girls to know that they are meant to maintain high level of hygiene during their menstrual cycle.
“Studies in India and East Africa shows that one in 10 girls actually miss school ,during menstruation.We decided to organise the outreach in Durumi to sensitise the girls on the role of proper hygiene ”
Dr Balami also explained that the project will be replicated in other part of the country ,and urged the students to spread the message to other girls around them.
“We and our partners focused on building and ensuring sanitation facilities for women and girls to make sure they’re able to manage it safely and increase awareness”.
In the same vein, the group is calling on government ,and well meaning Nigerians ,to provide adequate WASH facilities in school ,so as to make learning environment conducive for girls during their monthly cycle .
“We are urging school administration in all part of the country to make hygiene high priority.
If the toilets are dirty ,there is high risk of infection for females ,and they need to change the pad very often ,such that they will be comfortable. We have disposable pads ,and reusable pads , we normally advise young girls to make use of disposable pad”
She however cautioned that if any student want to make use of reusable pad ,they should wash it properly .It should be properly dried under the sun to prevent infection .
“Due to financial constraint ,people in remote areas find it hard sometimes to use the menstrual pad ,and they make use of cloth
Even at that, they have to ensure that it is properly soaked with detergent to prevent smelling ,and disinfect. It is very vital to stay hygienic when menstruating,so as to prevent infection from potential women’
The representative of the ministry of education ,Mrs Caroline Ojo Benjamin,is urging all women to discover their body history. “For those that always have menstrual cramps ,they should ensure they take proper care of their body .We have different condition called dysmenorrhea .We have the mild one and the secondary one ”
“The secondary factor is due to some factors , such as endometriosis ,and also pelvic inflammatory disease . It is always good to know the causative factors and check mate it and if it is persistent ,it is necessary to consult a doctor ”
She further commend the organisers of the event ,and called on well meaning Nigerians ,to engage in more awareness programs that will sensitise girls to maintain high level of menstrual hygiene .
While urging school authorities to ensure that girls have access to sanitation in schools during their menstrual cycle, She called on other individuals and organisations, to emulate such programme, so as to create awareness among the youth.
The issue of menstrual hygiene is of high importance ,and more girls should be targeted to spread the information among their peers ”
According to her, there should be good water system in all schools in the country ,so as to make the girls to be able to learn under a clean environment .
“There should be portable water on ground ,so as to be able to make the student learn under a conducive environment. We should make the girls to be confident ,while in the learning environment ,so that they may not be hindered from being absent from school ”
The program manager of Envision Global Care Foundation, Chinonye Ndukwe ,charged well meaning Nigerians ,and the government to provide condusive learning environment that will make the girls concentrate during menstrual cycle .
According to her ,the outreach is part of means of empowering the girls ,so that when they are fully grown,it will be part of them
“We want the girls to understand that menstruation is a biological process ,and no one should be discriminated while undergoing it.
It is a natural process and women should not feel bad while doing it” The program director also charged the girls not to be absent from school while menstruating.
A student of the school,Chioma John,disclosed that she was able to get adequate information on how she will be able to make proper use of sanitary pad . “Learnt how to keep myself clean ,and change the pad every six hours . We really appreciate the group for bringing the outreach to this school ,and called on other group to follow in this step ”
Another student of the Junior secondary school ,Uju Edith said she learnt to keep herself clean ,and always change the sanitary pad ,as often as possible ,and also dispose the sanitary pad effectively . “We have good portable water in the school ,and we can always make use of water ,compared to other school .We are grateful to the group , for providing the necessary incentive to carry out the activity .