Thursday, May 27, 2021 1:01 pm
Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today said while the world fights an ongoing battle against COVID-19, it is vital on Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day, 28 May) that people should remember that periods do not stop for pandemics! Thus, AHF, the world’s largest AIDS organization, invites all to join it on MH Day under its“A Necessity, Not a Luxury!”theme as the group launches a campaign to distribute 5 million sanitary pads to women and girls in need to keep them healthy and in school!
While 1.8 billion girls and women of reproductive age menstruate every month, millions are, according to the group, denied the right to manage their monthly menstrual cycle in a dignified, healthy way. Poor menstrual hygiene management restricts the mobility, freedom and choices of young women and girls everywhere; it affects attendance and participation in school and community life and further compromises their safety, causing stress and anxiety.
MH Day is recognized worldwide on May 28 and was first launched by advocates in 2014 to highlight the importance of menstrual hygiene management education that empowers girls to fully participate in society and live a healthy, self-determined life. AHF country teams around the world have exciting and informative virtual and in-person (where able)“A Necessity, Not a Luxury!”commemorative MH Day events planned for 2021!
AHF Nigeria is collaborating with her partners to host a menstrual hygiene management session for school girls in Abuja and, in Makurdi, Benue state, host a similar session for girls at the Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP) camp in Agan.Aside of these, the organization will be supporting the Sanitary Pad Bank initiative of the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs with donation of sanitary pads, as well as make reusable sanitary pads available to indigent girls through donations to CBOs working with us.
‘‘We owe our girls this monthly necessity and I am proud that AHF Nigeria will be making available over 40, 000 sanitary towels (disposable and reusable) to young girls during the commemoration’’ said Dr. Echey Ijezie, AHF Nigeria Country Program Director.
“I grew up in a culture where periods are taboo and girls and women are seen as ‘unclean’ – I was laughed at if I couldn’t join my school’s swimming class due to my period,” said AHF Deputy Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy Loretta Wong. “AHF is launching this campaign to distribute five million sanitary pads to help combat that stigma that still exists today, and because many women and girls can’t afford them or have inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products. The pads are also critical for girls’ education since they can miss twenty percent or more of each school year due to their menstrual cycle – widening the already vast, unequal education gap between girls and their male counterparts.
“Distributing over five million sanitary pads to adolescent girls and women in need is important for multiple reasons. We’re helping who we can, but we’re also raising our voices and standing with the estimated 500 million women and girls that do not have access to adequate menstruation hygiene management facilities,” added AHF Africa Bureau Chief Dr. Penninah Iutung. “Access to sanitary pads should be considered a necessity, not a luxury—since the lack of access means unmet menstrual health and hygiene needs, which may lead to stigma, harassment, and social exclusion, particularly for adolescent girls and young women. We must break down the archaic barriers that block equal human rights. Legislators at all levels must make this a political priority to bring awareness and provide the essential services and sanitization infrastructure women and girls need to thrive.”