Source: www.africanakua.com | Richard Fiebor, Ghana
www.africanakua.com’s health columnist and YALI alumnus, Dr. Olasemo Ayodedji on Tuesday went on an outreach programme at Alegongo Community Secondary School at Ibadan, Oyo state in Nigeria to educate female students on appropriate menstrual hygiene practices.
Dr. Ayodedji and his team including Mrs Babalola Tiwalade, Mr Babalola Plastic and Miss Jumoke Olasemo facilitated the activities of the programme. They handled various sections of the programme such as Education on Menstrual Hygienic Practices, Questions and Answer Segment and Distribution of sanitary pads and refreshments. Dr. Deji organized this project to commemorate Menstrual Hygiene (MH) Day.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management. It was initiated by the German based NGO, Wash United, in 2014. The day aims to benefit women and girls worldwide. The 28th was selected to acknowledge that 28 days is the average length of the menstrual cycle.
The project was basically organized to teach the young girls of Alegongo Secondary School about good menstrual hygiene and provide a temporary solution to those who have started menstruating and find it challenging to afford sanitary pads, hence the distribution of sanitary pads during the programme.
Dr. Ayodedji explained to this reporter that “the increase in wrong menstrual practices by these young girls leading to a lot of medical complications… and some young girls finding it difficult to afford sanitary pads therefore resorting to using various unhygienic materials in place of sanitary pads motivates this outreach.”
He went on to say “The project helped us to properly educate the community about how to go through the process of menstrual flow, what to do, what to wear and other hygienic practices. Finally, we encouraged them to pass these message across to their friends in other communities.”
Indeed, in most communities in Africa, women and girls especially girls of school going age face a lot of challenges during menstruation. The challenges are usually socio-cultural and financial. In some communities, menstruating females are stigmatized; For example they are not allowed to perform some household chores like cooking or even get closer to a male because it is a taboo.
There are others who cannot afford sanitary pads so they resort to using unhygienic materials such as socks and rags etcetera during menstruation. Worst of all, most young girls drop out of school as a result.
It therefore behooves on society to provide adequate education to females and provide sanitation facilities and access to feminine hygiene products to overcome these challenges.
MH Day creates a time for publicizing information in the media, embarking on campaigns and engaging policy makers in advocating for menstrual hygiene management.