Health

Menstrual Hygiene Day: Foundation advocates free menstrual products

Supreme Desk
27 May 2022 12:30 PM GMT
Menstrual Hygiene Day: Foundation advocates free menstrual products
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The lack of access to menstrual hygiene products causes hardship to women, especially young girls, including missing several school days.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO, has urged government and stakeholders to provide adequate sanitary facilities and free menstrual products to promote menstrual hygiene in the country.

The group's Marketing Manager in Nigeria, Mr Steve Aborisade, made the call in a statement on Friday in Abuja, ahead of the 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day), annually celebrated on May 28 in many countries around the globe.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that menstruation is the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman's uterus, commonly known as the womb.

Also known as menses, menstrual period, cycle or period, the menstrual blood, which is partly blood and partly tissue from the inside of the uterus, flows from the uterus through the cervix and out of the body through the vagina.

The annual Menstrual Hygiene Day is to highlight the importance of menstrual care, and raise awareness about issues faced by women and girls who don't have access to clean water and sanitary products.

The day is also to highlight the importance of menstrual hygiene management that empowers women and girls to fully participate in societal chores and live a healthy life.

The global theme of the 2022 celebration is: "Making Menstruation a Normal Fact of Life by 2030", an effort to build a world where no woman/girl is held back because she menstruates.

However, the AHF 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day has "#End The Stigma on Periods!" as its theme.

The group's marketing manager said "out of more than 1.8 billion people globally who menstruate, 500 million are denied access to safe facilities and sanitary products that provide healthy ways to manage their periods.

"The shortage and inflation caused by COVID-19 made purchasing hygiene products significantly more difficult worldwide.

"The lack of access to menstrual hygiene products causes hardship to women, especially young girls, including missing several school days.

"Young girls also experience depression due to stigma and discrimination with greater risk of being infected when they embrace unsafe alternatives."

Aborisade quoted AHF Nigeria's Country Programme Director, Dr Echey Ijezie, as saying "we acknowledge how the lack of access can increase the risk of HIV infection and how it disrupts girls' education and to us this is unacceptable."

Ijezie also reiterated the group's commitment to work with government and partners to provide free sanitary pad to young women and girls who could not afford it.

Guillermina Alaniz, AHF's Director of Global Advocacy, was also quoted as saying "a substantial percentage of global population menstruates, hence governments must guarantee access to free or affordable hygiene products and adequate facilities for menstrual health management.

"As long as we allow stigma and taboos to exist around periods, people who menstruate will be labelled as 'other' and held back from reaching their full potential.

" It is 2022 not 1922; the time has come for the world to `End the Stigma' around menstruation,"Alaniz said.

Meanwhile, AHF-Nigeria would be visiting the School for the Deaf in Kuje and Deaf Girls Integrated Government Secondary School also in Kuje, Abuja to educate students on menstrual health management and disability rights.

The AHF team would distribute sanitary pad to the students to ensure inclusiveness, so that persons living with disability are not left behind.

Also, AHF-Nigeria, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, would air educative jingles on radio in Abuja and Benue to ensure messages of menstrual hygiene reach as many girls as possible.

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