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Female-friendly toilets essential for menstrual hygiene

BY: Priscilla Asantewaa Obeng
Toilets at home and schools help children, especially girls, to keep themselves clean during their menstrual period.

It is important for every home to have toilet facilities. Toilets help to maintain a clean environment and good health, especially for children and women.

Toilets at home and schools help children, especially girls, to keep themselves clean during their menstrual period.

Many girls are not able to maintain personal  hygiene due to the lack of toilet facilities in their homes or schools.

In schools where there are no separate toilets for boys and girls, the girls do not have a place to safely and privately change and dispose of pads.

Angela Obeng said she was more comfortable at home during her period even though there were toilets in her school.

“ In school, we share washrooms with the boys and this makes me feel very uncomfortable.

Whenever you are in the washroom, you hear a knock on the door so you have to hurry up to allow someone else to use the place”, she said.

Taboos, myths and shame surrounding menstruation can lead to teasing, shaming, exclusion from daily activities and  have  negative effects on girls.

These girls who sometimes feel ashamed or are anxious that they may soil themselves prefer not to go to school at all.

This by far reduces the attendance rate of young girls in schools on a daily basis.

If  menstruation is not properly managed, it could interrupt daily life.

Leticia Ankrah expressed concern about  going through her menstrual cycle while in school. She said she preferred staying at home due to the lack of toilet facilities in her school.

“I miss classes every month I have my period”, she said.

For Akua Serwaa Abankwah, although the toilets in her school were not enough, they were kept very clean and that made her want to go to school all the time.

She did not have to worry about how to keep herself clean during her menses.

Schools must ensure that there are not just toilet facilities on the  compound but also  sanitary materials such as toilet rolls, soap and water for easy washing of hands by schoolchildren.

Schools must also educate schoolchildren on proper ways of  maintaining personal hygiene.

Parents must provide appropriate toilet facilities at home to prevent  children from going to isolated places  where they might be attacked by dangerous animals or get abused.   

Safe access to clean toilets is vital in ensuring that our environment is safe for human survival.