Stakeholders urge inclusiveness in menstrual health management

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Celebrating Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management Day 2022 at Abuja School for the Deaf, Kuje, FCT.

By Justina Auta

Ms. Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women’s Affairs and the Tabitha Cumi Foundation (TCF), an NGO called for the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in policies for the management of menstrual health and hygiene

They made the call during a training organized by TCF on Wednesday in commemoration of the Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management Day 2022 celebration held at Abuja School for the Deaf , Kuje, FCT.

Tallen, represented by Ms. Gloria Ekanem from the Ministry’s Gender Unit, said that girls and women with disabilities face many challenges in accessing menstrual health and hygiene management.

The minister said this vulnerable group should be taken into account in the design of infrastructure, policies and the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.

“Maintaining hygiene and menstrual health practices for all these women and their families is a challenge, so an endless struggle for which people need a lot of mental and physical support.

“When it comes to communicating and interacting with these children to convey information regarding menstruation, the interpreter must be accurate.

“As it could also be dangerous if they interpret the information incorrectly and follow bad practices,” she said.

According to her, women and girls with disabilities face difficulties in accessing structures, reading instructions or instructions, using toilets, among others.

She therefore encouraged other organizations to also support the government by providing materials and educating girls and women about menstrual health and hygiene.

Ms. Tayo Erinle, Executive Director of TCF, said the distribution of hygiene kits and sanitary napkins to mark the day was part of her “Always Keep Girls in School (AKGIS)” project.

Erinle said the one-year project implemented by the organization was sponsored by Procter and Gamble (P&G) to empower 1,500 girls in 20 FCT schools and 10 schools in Abeokuta.

She explained that the project aims to educate girls on reproductive health through skills and puberty training, providing sanitary kits and sanitary pads for one year.

She said there was a need to educate the group on how to manage their menstrual period hygienically, increase their self-esteem and reduce school absenteeism.

“A lot of them can’t handle menstruation hygienically, so there’s shame, blame and they’re not confident, apart from the taboos and myths that surround menstruation.

“So what we do at AKGIS, aside from sourcing sanitary products, is educating them so that they remove the myths and taboos and replace them with the proper knowledge of menstruation which there is no nothing to be ashamed of.

“Menstruation can be a problem for normal girls, it’s even worse for women with disabilities.

“So what we’re doing in this program is supporting them with the right information and knowledge and the pads,” she said.

Mr Ridwan Sorunke, who represented P&G, said the project aimed to equip girls with the skills and materials to enable them to have a stress-free menstrual period.

“In light of the 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Celebration, we want to demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion by expanding the AKGIS program to include young girls living with disabilities in Abuja.

“In the months and years to come, we will expand the program to other states across the country,” he said.

In addition, Dr. Asabe Vilita-Bashir, Chief Executive Officer, National Center for Women Development (NCWS), represented by Hajiya Maimuna Yangora, Director of Training Department, NCWD called for more awareness and synergy on management menstrual health and hygiene.

“This is a call to action for everyone to get involved and actively advocate for improved menstrual hygiene for all our girls and women,” she said.

The principal of the host school, Mr. Razak Sirajo, thanked the government and the organizers for their support for girls with disabilities.

Sirajo said the year-long supply of sanitary napkins and other hygiene kits would help affected students, who are mostly from less privileged homes. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Hawa Lawal/Uche Anunne

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