A Consultant Public Health Physician, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, Anambra State, Dr. Nkiru Ezeama, on Friday, said about five hundred million women and girls lack adequate facilities for Menstrual Health Management (MHM), across the World.
She also raised concern on the stigma and practical difficulties many women and girls face in the World, particularly, in Nigeria, during their periods.
Dr. Ezeama, disclosed this at a one-day Symposium in commemoration of the 2022 World Menstrual Hygiene Day, which was held at St. John of God Secondary School Awka.
She expressed frustration over the development, even as she counselled the female students on how to cope with the difficulties associated with menstruation.
The event was organized by Creative Ladies Global Resources, a non-governmental organisation that focuses on improving the health and welfare of young girls.
About Poverty Period in a woman, Dr. Ezeama, who spoke on a topic: A Global Perspective On Menstrual Hygiene Management, “As It Affects Environmental And Public Health Concerns” during the programme, describe period poverty as the period of difficulty when girls cannot afford menstrual products during menstruation.
She said such girls often resort to unhygienic practices in keeping themselves clean during their period which is said to be approximately five days every four weeks.
Menstruation, they said, is an integral part of a woman’s life but a nightmare for five hundred million women and girls across the world who she noted, do not have access to basic sanitation during their menstrual periods.
She explain that majority of the young girls in the World, lack access to sanitary pads “which is necessary for optimal health.”
She said; “Young girls still in schools mostly lack confidence when they do not have access to pads. Some of them also avoid schools because they do not have access to sanitary pads for their menstruation.
Dr. Ezeama, noted that approximate number of days a woman menstrual in her lifetime from age nine (9), is 3000 and that an annual woman’s solid waste load of disposable sanitary pads is 44,254.
The Unizik Physician, urged the government at all levels to understand the need that this is an area that requires urgent intervention, especially, in Nigeria Public/Private Primary and Secondary Schools.
The programme Keynote Speaker, Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna, on her brief speech, urged younger girls to always safeguard their pride during the menstrual period to avoid temptation from their male counterpart.
She advocate end to menstrual stigmatisation, noting that menstruation is a natural phenomenon and not a taboo.
In her address, the executive director of the Creative Ladies Global Resources, Engr. Mrs Maureen Chizoba Okolieukwu, said, the programme was organized to build girls’ knowledge and providing an enabling environment for effective management of menstruation in Nigeria.
She said the Creative Ladies Global Resources in partnership with some Public/Private Health centres, Missionaries Health centres, well-to-do individuals and other Civil Society Organisations is currently working to support those she described as marginalised adolescent girls within the country, through training of girls on the appropriate ways of managing menstruation and debunking the myths/taboos around it by providing the right information.
“We are building the capacity of guidance and counsellors to support girls on menstrual hygiene management, protecting their dignity by provision of sanitary pads and advocacy to school management to improve WASH facilities and ensure girls stay in school to complete their cycle of education.
According to her, majority of the young girls in World lack access to sanitary pads “which is necessary for optimal health.”
“Some schools also lack water and no safe place to change and dispose of their pads. So at Creative Ladies Global Resources, we are working assiduously to ensure that we provide pads for girls and also advocate to other stakeholders to see the need to make this available for our girls
“For this commemoration we are distributing over 700 sanitary pads to female students in 19 Secondary Schools in Anambra state that attended the programme.
Menstrual Hygiene Day helps to break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential, Okolieukwu added.
Representatives from the state Ministry of Health and the ministry of Water Resource, at the Symposium, promised to collaborate with the NGO, to ensure awareness creation, sensitising the public on menstrual health hygiene in the state, is achieved.
The Press Men gathered that, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) is a global platform that brings together government agencies, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and the media, among others, to promote good Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).
The theme of World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022 is “to create a world where no woman or girl is held back because they menstruate by 2030.