Women’s Health: Nigeria moves to formulate policies on menstrual hygiene management

*The government says the development of policies as well as information, education and communication materials is aim to support advocacy for the promotion of effective menstrual health and hygiene management in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In a move to evolve an advocacy framework for the wellbeing of the womenfolk, the Federal Government has stated it will develop policies to promote effective Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) in the West African country.

ConsumerConnect gathered Mr. Ali Madugu, Deputy Director, Child Development Department, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, disclosed this development Monday, October 18, 2021, at a day’s Meeting to Develop Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on MHHM, in Abuja, FCT.

Madugu noted the formulation of policies and IEC materials are to support advocacy on MHHM to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as to women and girls at the grassroots, agency report said.

Mrs. Pauline Kedem Tallen, OFR, Honourable Minister for Women Affairs

The Ministry’s Deputy Director, Child Development Department said: “Today’s meeting creates an opportunity to kick-start the process of the development of a document that will not only be used for advocacy to stakeholder at the national and state levels, but can also be used for sensitisation and awareness creation among adolescent girls and women.

“The materials we are here to develop are not just a document for the federal ministry of Women Affairs alone, but a document that will be circulated to all the state ministries across the country.”

Similarly, Mrs. Maryam Shuaibu, Head of Health Desk Division in the Federal Ministry, also noted that the essence of the forum is to develop IEC materials for improved MHHM in Nigeria.

According to Mrs. Shuaibu, “the objective of this meeting is to develop a handbook that is easily accessible, which provides information for improving menstrual hygiene practices for women and girls, build the competence and confidence of women and girls on menstrual matters and break the silence surrounding the issue.

“It will also promote increased engagement in advocacy on menstrual hygiene and encouraging relevant sectors to collaborate for effective intervention on MHHM.”

Nigerian girls learn how to make sanitary pads   Photo: Unicef.Org

According to her, participants in the meeting were expected to come up with a draft IEC on issue of menstruation among Nigerian women and girls.

This is imperative in view of the low level of awareness on MHHM, which has contributed greatly to the growing stigma and misconceptions related to menstruation, especially restriction from social activities.

In her contribution at the meeting, Dr Elizabeth Jeiyol, Co-chair, Technical Working Group, MHHM Committee, said material deprivation, lack and cost of clean absorbents, lack of WASH facilities and disposal are factors that contribute to poor menstrual health.

Jeiyol, represented by Elsie Ozika, Executive Director, Toilet Kulture, stressed the need to make available and accessible facilities and materials to promote MHHM in the country.

Ms. Jachike Ojukwu, participant representingd the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), said the meeting would improve the overall MHHM of women and girls, thereby attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly on good health and wellbeing of women and girls everywhere.

In the same vein, Mrs. Funmi Olorunmola, Executive Director, Pad A Girl project, stated the meeting is an opportunity for Nigerian Government and relevant stakeholders to provide materials that can easily be distributed to young girls and women on MHHM.

“These materials will provide vital information on MHHM, when we carry out advocacies and the girls can easily refer to it whenever the needs arise,” Mrs. Olurunmola said.

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