Improper waste disposal undermines menstrual hygiene says Expert
A Medical Expert, Dr. Gbemisola Daramola, has revealed that poor menstrual education, and improper waste disposal both at home and in schools, remains one of the challenges facing the girl-child in Nigeria. He stated this at a sensitisation programme centred on menstrual hygiene, organised by an NGO, The Female Professionals’ Book Club, for selected secondary school students in Ibadan.
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The theme, “Discussion on Menstrual Hygiene: A Basic Health Right”, was in commemoration of the 2023 World Menstrual Hygiene Day, held at Oba Akinbiyi Model High School, Ibadan,
The day is observed on May 28 annually, majorly because the menstrual cycle is an average of 28 days in length, with people menstruating on an average of five days every month.
The medical expert noted that poor menstrual health and hygiene undercut fundamental rights, including the right to work and go to school, for women and girls. Dr. Daramola said most girls learned about menstrual periods from their friends, rather than from the appropriate quarters, such as from their mothers and female school teachers.
According to her, insufficient resources and facilities in schools, such as good toilets, water, soap and proper waste disposal facilities to manage menstruation, as well as patterns of exclusion and shame, undermine human dignity.
“Findings have shown that many students do not have access to adequate materials to take care of themselves, thus making them to use clothes, tissue paper and other inappropriate materials during the menstrual cycle,” she said.
Dr. Daramola also cautioned that poor menstrual hygiene could lead to infections in the genital parts and the entire body’s reproductive system, adding that this could result in social embarrassment due to offensive odour.
Also speaking, the Founder of the club, Mrs. Ezinne Ibe, said that the awareness was aimed at exposing the students to the importance of good menstrual hygiene and why mensuration should not be a hindrance to a smooth academic process.
She noted that many students stay away from school during their menstrual period because they cannot afford good sanitary pads. She also added that a total of 200 students were selected from seven different schools in Ibadan North Local Government Area, to benefit from the pilot phase of the programme.
Also, a member of the NGO, Mrs. Sylvia Oyinlola, said that the sensitisation would eradicate the myths and taboos surrounding the menstrual period. Oyinlola urged the government to make adequate provision for good toilets, with constant water supply, in all the public schools across the state. However, the programme featured the distribution of sanitary pads to the students, lectures and question-and-answer sessions, among others.