Mrs Nana Adwoa Agyeman Affrifah, Executive Director, Community Connect Network (CCNET), has advised young girls to overcome the stigma sometimes associated with menstruation and avoid issues that turn to affect their education and development.
A statement issued by CCNET and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, said Mrs Affrifah made the remark at the commemoration of World Menstrual Hygiene Day with the theme ‘Menstruation is no Shame’ held in the New Juaben Municipality.
She said menstrual hygiene management should begin in basic schools, where strong educational foundations are laid, so that the battle of overcoming the challenges associated with menstruation would be half won.
‘We believe in the adage of ‘catch them you’ and it is the basic level that strong educational foundations are laid,’ she stated.
She noted that it would afford policy makers and other relevant stakeholders to have an easier job of implementing menstrual hygiene management policies and programmes.
The celebration was organised by CCNET in collaboration with the Global Neighbourhood Healthcare Development Organization (GLENEHDO).
It was aimed at educating girls, boys and other stakeholders about menstrual hygiene management to promote girls education in the country.
The celebration, dubbed ‘Our Day’ had its objective to raise menstrual hygiene awareness and support needy girls with menstrual hygiene products in the New Juaben Municipality and its environs.
The menstrual hygiene day seeks to tackle the issue by engaging the attention of policy makers, the media, communities, the public and all stakeholders to speak on menstrual hygiene and integrate it into policies at all levels of society.
Mrs Affrifah acknowledged that there had been lots of progress over the years in the urban areas, however, real challenges were found in the rural areas, which she attributed it to taboos, cost and access to menstrual hygiene products and lack of sanitary facilities.
Mr Bartholomew Kwame Ofori, New Juaben Municipal Education Director, said because of inadequate sanitary facilities, some girls absent themselves from school during that period and that imparts negatively on their learning.
‘Many girls have suffered academically because of improper and inadequate sanitary facilities to support these young girls during menstruation,’ he said.
He said some young girls become nervous and finds it difficult to concentrate on learning, because they do not use the right menstrual hygiene products, saying that, it as a real concern to the Ghana Education Service (GES).
He said the vulnerability of these girls afford some unscrupulous boys and men to take advantage of the young girls to have sex with them and give them money to buy sanitary pads.
He then proposed a policy with the support of government and other stakeholders to ensure that sanitary pads and other menstrual hygiene products were supplied freely to basic school girls, starting from upper primary to the Junior High School (JHS).
The statement said as part of the celebration, 10 girls were chosen as ambassadors to represent their basic schools.
It said sanitary pads and Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) kits was distributed to the schools.
It said a total of 260 pupils from 12 selected basic schools, including the school for the deaf in the New Juaben Municipality of the Eastern Region participated in the event.