By Grace Orok
Second Chance Initiative in collaboration with Medical Women Association and Aurora Loreli is advocating for subsidy on sanitary pads by the Government to enable the girl child stay in school and have safe menstrual periods.
This initiative which was taken at Holy Child College Ikom, where the event took place, was to mark the World Menstrual hygiene day set aside by the United Nations (UN).
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Second Chance Initiative, Mrs. Lillian Oyama said: “Menstrual hygiene day is a platform that brings different bodies together to highlight issues that affect menstruation and proffer solutions. Second Chance Initiative and other supporting bodies have achieved the UN objectives for menstrual hygiene day in marking it and we would continue until everyone is reached with the message and there is evidence of behavioral change.
“The United Children Education Fund (UNICEF) research of 2015 shows that 500 million girls and women round the world, lack adequate facilities for managing their periods. Hence the need for our theme this year, ‘Education about menstruation changes everything’. On this note, we are advocating to the Government to try and subsidize the cost of sanitary towels for our girls to stay in school and have their periods safely”.
Speaking further she said that when boys and men are also educated about menstruation, their perception of girls during menstruation changes and they become supportive.
As part of her concern for the girl child to have dignified menstrual periods even while in school, the organization has also taken up the initiative to advocate for girl friendly toilets in schools across the state to be constructed by the state government. The facilities, the group advised, should contain wash rooms and soaps with running taps to enable the girl child wash and keep clean.
“We are also taking the enterprise to advocate to the government for girl friendly toilets in schools, to enable our girls maintain good hygiene in school while menstruating,” she said.
President of the Medical Women Association, Dr. Nchiewe Ani while educating the girls about their periods and how to maintain good personal hygiene during this period, said that menstruation heralds the beginning of the reproductive cycle and explained that a healthy diet should be maintained during menstrual flow period.
Sequel to the success of the medical outreach that saw the distribution of sanitary towels to the students, administration of drugs/mosquito repellents for malaria/typhoid, check ups and administration of drugs for early dictation of cancer in Okuni community Ikom, she thanked the former first Lady; Mrs. Onari Duke for her support in providing the chemotherapy machine for the cancer check up.
In her words:” This is the first time to move out with a chemotherapy machine, courtesy of her Excellency, Mrs. Onari Duke, we appreciate her. Also for her benevolence in providing nurses from the children hospital, we say a big thanks to her”.
Highlights of the program included cheques received by students of the Federal Government College Ikom, Holy Child Ikom, and Community Secondary School Okuni also in Ikom, for essay entries on the topic of menstruation supported by the Wife of the Governor of Cross River state, Dr. Linda Ayade, Mrs. Onari Duke and the State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Stella Odey who were ably represented by Dr. Nchiewe Ani.
There was also a panel session by stakeholders and staff/students of the various schools in attendance where taboos regarding menstruation were highlighted and debunked.
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