The Executive Director, Community Connect Network (CCNET), Mrs. Nana Adwoa Agyeman Affrifah has advised young girls to overcome the stigma and shame sometimes associated with menstruation and avoid issues that turn to affect their education and development. She also called for the early introduction of school children to menstrual hygiene management, from the basic schools, where strong educational foundations are laid, so the battle of overcoming the challenges associated with menstruation would be half won.
“We believe in the adage of ‘catch them young’ and it is the basic level that strong educational foundations are laid” she stressed.
She noted that it will make the work of policy makers and other relevant stakeholders in implementing menstrual hygiene management policies and programmes easier.
Mrs. Affrifah made the recommendations at the commemoration of World Menstrual Hygiene Day themed “Menstruation is no Shame at the New Juaben Municipality of the Eastern region.
The celebration organized by Community Connect Network (CCNET) was in collaboration with the Global Neighbourhood Healthcare Development Organization (GLENEHDO) and was aimed at educating girls, boys and other stakeholders about menstrual hygiene management to promote girls education in the country.
The celebration which was dubbed “Our Day” focused on raising menstrual hygiene awareness and support needy girls with menstrual hygiene products in the municipality and its environs.
The menstrual hygiene day seeks to tackle the issue by engaging the attention of policy makers, the media, communities, the public and all stakeholders to speak on menstrual hygiene and integrate it into policies at all levels of society.
She acknowledged that there has been a lot of progress over the years in the urban areas, however, real challenges are found in the rural areas, which she attributed to taboos, cost and access to menstrual hygiene products and lack of sanitary facilities.
The New Juaben Municipal Education Director, Mr. Bartholomew Kwame Ofori said because of inadequate sanitary facilities some girls absent themselves from school during that period and that impacts negatively on their learning.
He lamented that “Many girls have suffered academically because of improper and inadequate sanitary facilities to support these young girls during menstruation”.
Mr. Ofori indicated that some become nervous and fail to concentrate on their learning as a result of not using the right menstrual hygiene products and described it as a real concern to the Ghana Education Service (GES).
He said the vulnerability of these girls encourages some unscrupulous boys and men to take advantage of the young girls, have sex with them and give them money to buy sanitary pads.
He therefore proposed a policy with the support of government and other stakeholders to ensure that sanitary pads and other menstrual hygiene products are supplied freely to basic school girls starting from upper primary to the JHS.
As part of the celebration, 10 girls were chosen as ambassadors to represent their basic schools with a total of 260 pupils from 12 selected basic schools including the school for the deaf participating in the event.