The Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Kwara State chapter on Friday (May 28, 2021) in Ilorin, Kwara state capital, donated free sanitary pads to over 1000 school girls in Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Ilorin.
The distribution of the free sanitary pads was part of the sssociation’s activities to mark this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day).
The MH day is a global advocacy platform that brings together the voices and actions of non-profits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the media to promote good menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) for all women and girls.
The programme also featured enlightenment of school girls on personal hygiene and menstrual education.
Speaking during at the event, the President of Kwara MWAN, Dr Mosunmola Folorunso, stressed the need for government at all tiers, well meaning individuals to make available free sanitary pads for girls and women.
She noted sanitary pads especially for vulnerable women and girls is too expensive, adding that the development has made the sanitary pads very costly and out of reach of many girls and women across the country.
“If the government should help women to ensure sanitary pads are made free or subsidized, it would go along way in making in ensuring that it is within the reach of girls and women. It will also help to increase their hygiene, wellbeing and health,” she said.
She said the day is to educate the school girls on menstruation and hygiene, saying that there is also need for privacy for female gender.
Dr Folorunso described menstruation as a normal occurrence in female aged from nine or 16 years, adding that it is not normal for girls of 18 not to have started menstruating.
“People who have late menstruation may be due to some factors including congenital, Amenorrhea,” she said.
The MWAN president advised the students not to indulge in sexual act till they are married, saying that getting pregnant can destroy their future while exposing them to stigmatization.
She also advised the girls to seek medical intervention, if they experience strange black colour, and foul odour to prevent health hazard associated with such signs.
The medical expert advised girls to cultivate the habit of proper disposal of their menstrual sanitary pads.
“Avoid trashing sanitary pads anyhow and imbibe the habit of extra clean. At least bath twice and be conscious of yourself. Change menstrual pads at least three times,” she said.
Also speaking, the Secretary of Kwara MWAN, Dr Oluwayemisi Adegboye noted with displeasure that some people attached stigma, myths and taboos to menstruation and called for change of attitude.
According to her, poverty is hindering girls and women from being hygienic during their menstruation.
She advocated end to poverty, hardship and stigma on menses, while urging people to donate towards free sanitary pads for women in the country.
Speaking on the programme, Dr Adegboye said the girls had been educated against infections and indiscriminate disposal of sanitary pads in the environment which she said is very rampant in the society.
The Director of Child, Kwara State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Mariam Yusuf, advised the students to be hygienic always, adding that it is normal for girls to menstruate and must by clean so that they cannot be infected.
She also urge the students to dispose their sanitary towels appropriately.
She appreciated Kwara MWAN for its commitment towards the well-being of the people especially girls and children, urging members of the association to sustain the tempo.
Responding on behalf of the school, the Principal of Queen Elizabeth Secondary School, Hajia Sidikat Lawal, said the sensitization on menstruation and personal hygiene for their students was timely.
She reminded the school girls that even though menstrual cycle is being thought in primary science, it is still important that the medical experts educated them on the topic.
Lawal also advised the students to abstain from sexual intercourse and face their studies squarely.
Highlight of the event includes distribution of sanitary pads to the students in the school.