Ahead of this year’s celebration of the annual World Menstrual Health and Hygiene Day, some departments and agencies of the Nigerian government have opened what they described as pad banks for the use of female staffers.
The initiative, according to the country’s minister of women affairs, Pauline Tallen, is to cater for emergencies while at work.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Tallen, disclosed this on Tuesday during a chat with the media, students and other stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory (FCT).
Mrs Tallen, according to NAN, said the gesture was aimed at creating more awareness about menstrual hygiene, in line with the theme of the annual celebration.
The 2022 theme is “Making Menstruation a Normal fact of life by 2030.”
She said: “As the coordinating ministry and the National Secretariat for Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management, we have also made remarkable progress around menstrual health and hygiene management in Nigeria.
“It is worthy to mention that some ministries through advocacy, are unveiling their Pad Banks, to cater for cases of emergency within their work environment.”
According to her, the MDAs include ministries of foreign affairs, water resources, agriculture and rural development, interior, youth and sports development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), among others.
The minister, therefore, encouraged others, especially those in the private sector, to emulate the gesture for the wellbeing and convenience of women and young girls.
“I therefore wish to use this opportunity to call on other MDAs and other stakeholders, including airlines, schools and security agencies to join in the campaign to make menstruation a normal pact of life, by setting up Pad Banks in their spaces.
“Together, if we strengthen our collaboration, existing structures to end violence against children, to secure a brighter future for our country will be sustained,” she said.
Erika Godson, Deputy Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), encouraged the public to see menstrual hygiene as essential for women and young girls.
On the issue of obstetrics fistula, Ms Godson called on relevant stakeholders to improve quality of services in healthcare system.
“We encourage our healthcare system to improve the quality of services, so that women can deliver babies safely and not left with the issue of obstetrics fistula.
“This will put them in such discriminatory conditions, in which they cannot contribute meaningfully to the society,” she said.
Also speaking, Latifat Kabir-Yahaya, a student, stressed the need for students to be able to access and afford sanitary pad at all times.
She said poor access to hygienic menstrual products and poor sanitation infrastructure undermined the educational opportunities, health and overall social status of women and girls.
Similarly, Benjamin Ojionu, a student of Junior Secondary School, Garki, stressed the need to also educate the male-child, on issues affecting women and children.
He said more sensitisation would improve menstrual hygiene and prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
Other highlights of the day included the distribution of sanitary pads to some students.
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