By: Joyce Kantam Kolamong and Lucy Naer
Yendi Girls Junior High School was adjudged the champions in a debate between the school and Islamic Junior High on the topic, “It is the Responsibility of the Mother to Educate the Girl Child About Menstrual Hygiene”.
The debate which was organized by Pagba Saha, a local NGO and sponsored by MASLOC Ghana, saw both schools being awarded citations and menstrual hygiene products. The event which was held at the Yendi SHS in the Northern region, formed part of activities to mark World Menstrual Hygiene Day today.
Menstrual health is a human rights issue, not just a health one. The ability to care for one’s body while menstruating is an essential part of this fundamental freedom. Yet an estimated 500 million people lack access to menstrual products and adequate facilities for menstrual health.
Poor menstrual health and hygiene undercut fundamental rights, including the right to work and go to school for women, girls and people who menstruate. Insufficient resources to manage menstruation, as well as patterns of exclusion and shame, undermine human dignity.
Essential elements that people need for good menstrual health are safe, acceptable, and reliable supplies to manage menstruation; privacy to change materials; facilities to safely and privately wash; and information to make informed choices.
The Menstrual Day event which was attended by young girls from the various junior high schools in the municipality. They were given sanitary pads, jotters, and a girls’ guide to help them manage their menstruation better.
CEO of Masloc Ghana, Madam Abiba Saani Zakaria, said girls education should be important to both parents; however, it is the responsibility of mothers to give priority to the menstrual issues of their girls.
She advised the young girls to always keep themselves neat not only when they are in their menses but practice general hygiene.
She further implored them to take their studies very seriously since the government is committed to making education flexible through its flagship programmes.
The CEO of Pagba Saha, Naa Hajia Sawuratu Alhassan, who is a Retired Broadcaster with GBC, bemoaned the number of teenage pregnant girls recorded annually, particularly in the Northern part of the country.
She said the stigma attached to girls during their menstrual periods is unbearable and called on the government and stakeholders to provide menstrual hygiene facilities and products at schools to ease the pressure associated with it.
Madam Sawuratu further urged stakeholders to provide accessible and consistent water supplies at schools for the girls to practice proper menstrual hygiene.