• Urges FG to provide facilities for girls in schools

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Founder of Public Health Aid Awareness and Education Organisation, Mrs. Uche Okonmah, has called on both the state and federal governments to provide public schools with adequate toilet and potable water so that girls will practice good menstrual hygiene management.

Okonmah made the disclosure at occasion of the Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration in Abuja.

The founder of the group while on a sensitisation and awareness campaign on menstrual hygiene to the students of the Junior Secondary School, Galadimawa, charged the students to maintain high level of hygiene during their menstrual cycle.

According to her, it is very essential for each school to have its own water and sanitation facilities, as this is an important component for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said: “In the school, we found out that water is very scarce, and some students have to buy sachet water during school hours. We want the government to take the necessary step of making water available for all students.

“When the girl-child has access to clean water and basic sanitation, it will take a great weight off her shoulder, as she will be comfortable and able to assimilate at a very high speed.”

Speaking further, she charged the students to learn how to make use of the sanitary pad, so as to prevent unnecessary staining of the uniform and feeling of discomfort during school hours.

Okonmah said that girls should learn how to dispose sanitary pad effectively, by wrapping it, or covering it appropriately before disposing it off.

According to her, it is very essential to be very neat while having the menstrual cycle,so as to reduce the risk of infection.

While reacting to the notion that ladies should not work during menstruation, she called on the boys and men folk to give the female gender the right environment to be at their best.

She continued: “I will like to state categorically that menstruation is not a disease, and it’s not limitation. It is a normal biological process that happens monthly.

“Menstruation is not an abomination, it is not a stigma. We are calling on the men and boys to give the female folk the necessary support to operate during the period, as the body may likely react in some rash manner.”

Also speaking, the president of Precious Sister’s One Love Group, Mrs. Victory Okonmah, said the girl-child should be given the right environment to perform optimally, socially and in every phase of life.

She further called on other groups and non-governmental organisations to engage in such laudable task as a large number of girls need enlightenment on menstrual hygiene management.

“We spoke to some of the students who said they only use one sanitary pad throughout the whole day, which is not right, as they will be soaked most time.

“Even among the students, there are some, who cannot afford to buy sanitary pad,” she added.

She called on corporate organisations, and well to do Nigerians to donate sanitary pad to schools, and support indigent students whom the parents cannot afford school fees.

“We hope to engage in more of this corporate social responsibility, because being a women’s group, we know the importance of menstruation, and we want the students to feel comfortable during school hours.

“We don’t want the students to feel stigmatised during school period, and at the end of the day they won’t be able to learn effectively under this condition,” she remarked.

Okonmah further, urged the school authorities to always ensure that there is pain reliever on ground to support those that usually have heavy flow and may experience one form of ailment or the other.

She also advised girls that usually have heavy flow to usually protect themselves with double pad, as the school did not have enough water facility on ground to support good menstrual hygiene management.

She stressed the fact that menstruation is not a disease and will want every girl and women to always be strong, whenever they are having the menstrual pad, so as to erase the notion that the women are second fiddle, and weaker vessels.

A student of the Junior Secondary School, Galadimawa, Abuja, Miss Mimido Mercy, said she usually utilise one pad while in school, as she doesn’t have heavy flow.

She however maintained that sometimes the students have to come to school with water that they will use to clean up while in school environment.

Another student Uchenna Eze, said there was need for the government to make the schools accessible for learning for girls, by providing water for the students to be able to change during the school hours.

“We cannot assimilate well, when we are not happy, many of us get stained dusting the school hours, and we have to start going home, so that we will not be booed by the boys. We want the boys to be given awareness so that they will know that menstruation is a normal biological process, and they don’t need to make jest of us when we get stained,” she said.

A female teacher who spoke anonymously said that most of the girls always skip the classes during menstrual cycle, as there is no functional water facility on ground.

“Even as teachers whenever we are pressed, we have to go back to the house, when we want to utilise the toilet, and sometimes have to enter the nearby bush around,” she said.

She called on the government to provide the necessary facility on ground, so as to make learning conducive for the students, as part of achieving the sustainable development goals.