The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Women Affairs have unveiled menstrual pad banks to cater for the needs of women and girls during their monthly menstruation period in emergency situations.
The Minister, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said at the launching in Abuja that the programme was part of activities to mark the 2021 Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The day, with a theme, “We need to Step Up Action and Investment in Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) Now”, is aimed at making sanitary pads available at all times for emergency use.
“A Pad Bank is today instituted in the Ministry and it will serve as a model for all Public Institutions, including ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), Hotels, Banks and indeed even in supermarkets and open markets.
“This is to enable girls anywhere and everywhere to have access to pad in times of emergencies, when suddenly they experience their monthly flow which can come at any point in time without warning,” she said.
According to her, the ministry had set up a committee at the MHHM to ensure that adolescent girls and women of reproductive age are able to manage their menstrual cycle with dignity.
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While calling on stakeholders to replicate the gesture by establishing a menstrual pad bank in their facilities, Tallen said menstrual items will be donated to schools around the six Area Councils of the FCT and other states across the federation with support from partners.
Also, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Anyhonia Ekpa, stressed the need to promote good menstrual health and hygiene management and break stigmas that exist around young girls and women during their menstrual cycle.
Comfort Lamptey, the UN Women Country Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, stressed the need for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities, particularly in schools, to eliminate reasons girls don’t attend schools during their monthly period.
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Lamptey called for increased funding of the ministry of women affairs to enable it to achieve its mandates on women and children’s issues.
Sharon Oladiji, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF, charged parents and the media on communicating with children and public on appropriate information on menstrual hygiene, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and rights.
Similarly, Raquel Daniel, a Consultant, urged parents to build their children’s knowledge on menstrual hygiene to enable them get information from reliable sources.
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Speaking on behalf of Women in Area one Internally Displaced Peoples’ (IDPs) camp, Miss Fatima Mohammed, decried the lack of access to sanitary items, especially water and pads during their monthly period.
According to her, most of the women resort to using their headscarfs or old clothes as sanitary pad.
She, however, expressed appreciation to the ministry and other partners that donated sanitary pads to them.
Mohammed said the exercise would provide them with alternative materials used during their menstrual period.
She said it will also enable them to take care of their personal hygiene and control their mobility.
Sanitary pads, writing materials, towels and other items were distributed to students from various schools in the FCT, special need persons, and IDP camp.