Dakoa Newman (3rd from left) with some of the school girls after she had donated sanitary pads as part of WMHD. With her is the , Dr Afisah Zakaria (left), Chief Director and some headmistresses of the St Joseph Anglican Schools at Kaneshie
Dakoa Newman (3rd from left) with some of the school girls after she had donated sanitary pads as part of WMHD. With her is the , Dr Afisah Zakaria (left), Chief Director and some headmistresses of the St Joseph Anglican Schools at Kaneshie
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Menstrual Hygiene Day: Integrate menstrual hygiene into educational curriculum — Stakeholders

As part of activities to mark the day Josephine Ansah reports that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection donated over 2,000 Yazz branded sanitary pads to females in some selected institutions in the Okaikwei South Constituency to help raise awareness.

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The beneficiaries include the Accra Wesley Girls Senior High School, St Anglican Church, Accra Psychiatric Hospital, Odorgonor Senior High Schools, Nsawam Prisons and South Labone Girls Technical Institute, Osu.

Rationale

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Darkoa Newman, emphasised the importance of providing proper menstrual health support to protect girls' dignity, improve academic performance, and reduce dropout rates.

The donation, she said, was to create a society where menstruation is discussed freely, and younger generations understand its importance, rather than treating it as a taboo topic.

“Given the varied changes that girls faces with regard to their sexual and reproductive health right, it is prudent that proper menstrual health is provided to safeguard the dignity and integrity of girls to improve their school performances and drop out rates among them,” she said. 

From the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School in Accra Diana Mensah also reports that the Ghana Education Service (GES) climaxed the celebration on the theme: "Together for a Period Friendly Ghana.”

The celebration featured the distribution of menstrual hygiene kits, including sanitary pads, soap and educational materials, to thousands of schoolgirls. 

Review

The Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Communication Africa, Esther Amoah Numaba Cobbah, called for a review of the education system to ensure it supported students' holistic well-being, including menstrual hygiene management. 

She emphasised the importance of women's voices in discussions about menstrual hygiene management, highlighting the need for dialogue and education to break down stigmas and improve policies.

Dr Josephine Kyei,Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana, speaking at Asokore-Mampong to mark MHD

The Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu, underscored the urgency of addressing policies that discriminated against women, adding that “policies that fight against women must stop.

Mr Sosu called for a national effort to prioritise education and support for young girls, envisioning a future where every girl has the resources to succeed.

Collaborative efforts 

The Director-General of GES, Dr Eric Nkansah, in a speech read on his behalf, said the day's theme called for a collaborative effort to address menstrual health issues on a larger, more inclusive scale and underscored that menstrual health was not merely a personal issue but one of basic human rights, gender equality and sustainable development. 

The Okyenhemaa Ofori Panin Fie of Kyebi, Eastern Region, Nana Adutwumwaa Dokua, also called for collective efforts to improve menstrual health and hygiene practices.

She added that cultural barriers and stigmas worsened those issues, often leading to social exclusion and a lack of education on menstrual health. 

The WASH Specialist of UNICEF, Lorretta Roberts, gave an assurance of UNICEF’s commitment to actively promote gender-friendly sanitation facilities in schools. 

From Asokore-Mampong, Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor reports that as part of its effort to ensure that school girls have access to sanitary products during their menses and remain in school, the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GKMA-SWP) was collaborating with other stakeholders to set up a pad bank to support needy girls.

Such a bank would be for Philanthropists, institutions and individuals to donate menstrual sanitary products which would be donated to girls whose parents were unable to provide them with sanitary materials during that time of the month.

The GKMA SWP Coordinator, George Asiedu, who made this known, said the objective was to ensure that every girl has access to hygienic menstrual products and go through the period in dignity.

A Senior Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery of the University of Ghana, Dr Josephine Kyei, said individuals who were differently abled faced challenges with menstrual hygiene as a result of their conditions.

She said there was therefore the need for society to provide the necessary infrastructure to make life bearable for them and also called on the general public, parents and teachers to understand their challenges and to continue to support them.

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Reusable pad

The Ashanti Regional Girls Education Officer, Hannah Amponsah, said the region has initiated a programme to train Girls Education coordinators in the districts in the production of reusable pads to enable them to conduct similar trainings in their districts.

The objective, she said, was to help those who would not be able to afford the disposable pads to learn how to produce and use the reusable pads and manage their menstruation hygienically.

From Bolgatanga, Gilbert Mawuli Agbey reports that WaterAid Ghana, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) focused non-governmental organisation (NGO), says menstrual hygiene management remained a significant challenge for many girls and women in the country. 

The Advocacy, Campaigns and Inclusion Manager, WaterAid Ghana, Fauzia Aliu, said the lack of education about menstruation, persistent cultural taboos and inadequate sanitation facilities contributed to a cycle of poverty and inequality.

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She said “these barriers not only undermine the health and dignity of women and girls but also restrict their educational and economic opportunities”.

The celebration formed part of the Sexual Health and Reproductive Education (SHARE) project being implemented by a consortium led by Right to Play in partnership with the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and WaterAid with technical support from FHI 360.  

It is supported by the Government of Canada, funded by Global Affairs Ghana and is being implemented in the Bongo and Kassena Nankana West districts, as well as Kassena Nankana and Builsa North municipalities. 

The Upper East Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, in a speech read on his behalf, said it was unacceptable that women and girls were still stigmatised, excluded and discriminated against and mentioned that such a practice affected their education, health and overall well-being.

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The Municipality Chief Executive (MCE) of Builsa North, Vida Akantagriwen Anaab, announced that the assembly would put the provision of free sanitary pads in their budget this year to procure them to support girls in the area.

The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, who chaired the event, urged the government to include the free supply of sanitary pads to girls in basic and second cycle educational institutions. 

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