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Healthcare: Group urges government to make menstrual materials accessible to women, girls

*The Centre for Adolescent Health and Social Development urges the Federal Government to improve women and girls’ accessibility to menstrual materials while commemorating the 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

For improved menstruation, proper menstrual hygiene and well-being, the Centre for Adolescent Health and Social Development has urged the Federal Government to put measures in place to make menstrual hygiene materials readily accessible to Nigerian women and girls.

Dr. Fatimah Odusote, Executive Director of the Centre, advocated this in an interview Saturday, May 28, 2022, with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, FCT.

The forum was the  commemoration of the Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022.

The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day is, “Making Menstruation a Normal Fact of Life by 2030”.

The Day is commemorated May 28 of every year to highlight the importance of menstruation and proper menstrual hygiene management for every girl and woman irrespective of their location across Nigeria.

The Centre also explained the day highlights the need to address the common myths surrounding menstruation and break the silence and shame on menstruation.

Dr. Odusote noted government as well needed to provide sustainable access to water and sanitation for proper menstrual management for girls and women.

The Executive Director also stated this could be done through direct implementation, both in schools, using the school health programme framework and communities.

Odusote further said: “Government needs to partner with private sector entities, NGOs and communities where applicable.

“There is a need for continuous sensitisation, awareness and provision of age and culturally appropriate information regarding menstruation and proper menstrual hygiene management for girls and women not just during menstrual hygiene day celebration

“Such awareness should also involve and meaningfully engage boys and men in other to offer a sustainable support system for every girl and woman.”

According to her, proper awareness can also help break the silence, shame, stigmatisation, and the myths and taboos in our society on menstruation and menstrual hygiene.

Dr. Odusote noted there is a need for the government’s total commitment to implementing the school health programmes across the country through intersectoral and multisectoral collaboration to achieve improved well-being.

Several girls in the rural and urban areas, she noted, still do not have the needed knowledge and information regarding proper menstrual hygiene management.

The Executive Director said: “In a particular instance in a hard-to-reach community where we carried out intervention, about 63 percent of the girls did not have the needed information regarding menstruation.

“Such knowledge gap also includes that of adequate information on menstruation.

“It is also interesting that the knowledge deficiency has also been observed in some mothers, female guardians, and teachers during our interventions.”

Besides, she said there is a need for more women and girls to have access to the correct information on menstruation and menstrual hygiene management.

The Nigerian Government needs to formulate policy frameworks, facilities, and an enabling environment for every woman and girl.

The Centre for Adolescent Health and Social Development is an NGO in Nigeria with a specific focus on adolescent health through programmatic interventions to help improve their overall wellbeing.

On menstrual health, the organisation has implemented 13 interventions (schools and communities) in the Southwest, North-Central and South-South regions of Nigeria, using a deliberately curated menstrual hygiene pamphlet as a guide, report said.

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