By: Prudence Okonna
To end stigma, address misinformation, and raise awareness regarding challenges associated with menstruation, stakeholders in the health sector have called for an improvement in the pre-menstrual counseling of young girls and women, to provide them with adequate information in handling menstrual hygiene.
The Executive Director, Center for School Health Education and Environmental Hygiene (CSHEEH), Dr. Folashade Momoh made the call Monday, in commemoration of World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023, at the Anglican Girls Grammar School (AGGS), Apo, Abuja.
She explained that pre-menstrual counseling also called pre-menarche counseling, is the period in the life of a female preceding the commencement of menstruation that has not been maximized in educating the girl child.
According to Dr. Momoh, there is a barrage of postulated taboos associated with menstruation that need to be addressed to enable women especially young girls, to experience their periods with ease.
She added that the vision behind observing the day is to create a world where every girl and woman manages her menstrual hygiene without an iota of shame.
Her words: “I think that there is a serious need for pre-menarche counseling so that the girl child will be aware of what menstruation is all about; because it is a natural process going on in their body. There is nothing to be frightened about and every girl deserves to understand that Menstruation indicates that a girl is becoming a woman”.
Momoh explained that Parents, Guardians, and Care Givers have important roles to play in educating their children, especially girls, to help them understand their bodies and the inevitable changes they will experience as they grow.
She also calls on relevant stakeholders like Non-governmental Organisations, and Ministries of Health, Education, and Women’s Affairs to liaise in addressing the issue of period poverty to make sanitary towels accessible to women and girls in rural areas.
While giving a health talk on “the facts about Menstrual Hygiene”, the Executive Director CSHEEH, lamented the accompanying challenges experienced by women, especially the girl-child, like discomfort, body changes, cramps, inadequate access to sanitation which adversely affect their learning in school.
She reiterated that the focus of the sensitization is to end period poverty, educate everyone about menstruation, ensure access to period-friendly toilets for all, and end stigma.
Speaking on behalf of the School Management, in her opening remark, the Unit Head, Languages, AGGS, Nnadi Esther appreciated the CSHEEH team for choosing to educate the girls on Menstrual Hygiene; adding that the lessons would go a long way in impacting the students.
World menstrual hygiene day is commemorated annually on May 28 since 2014 and as part of CSHEEH‘s efforts to align with the theme for 2023 “ Making Menstruation a normal fact of Life by 2030”, sanitary pads were distributed to 600 students in the all-girls secondary school.