Samira Bawumia presenting a pack of sanitary pads to a pupil
Samira Bawumia presenting a pack of sanitary pads to a pupil

Let’s openly address menstrual health issues — Samira Bawumia

The wife of the Vice-President, Samira Bawumia, has called for a collaborative effort between state institutions, non-governmental organisations, academia and faith-based organisations to address the various challenges associated with menstrual hygiene in the country.

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She was of the view that partnering to face menstrual health challenges directly and without any attempt to compromise or avoid the issues would help influence policy to create sustainable solutions.

“Silence about menstruation can lead to ignorance and neglect, including at the policy level. It is, therefore, imperative that we address these issues. Improving menstrual health and hygiene requires collaborative efforts across the education, health, water and sanitation sectors.”

“Let us work together – government, NGOs, faith-based organisations, academia – to create sustainable solutions. We want to have a period free world where every girl will have access to their sanitary needs. 

Event

She was speaking at an event organised by the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Projects (SEHP) in conjunction with the Ga Central Municipal Education Directorate to mark this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day at the Odorgonno Senior High School in Accra last Tuesday.

She mentioned that period poverty, that is the inability of women and girls to afford and access menstrual products; sanitation and hygiene facilities; education and awareness to manage menstrual health, affected their ability to live healthy and productive lives.

“Period poverty leads to a cascade of negative impacts including missing school days; increased health risks such as urinary tract infections, a cause of cervical cancer and this social exclusion ultimately diminishes economic opportunities for women and girls,” she said.

Other challenges

Mrs Bawumia expressed worry that some menstruating girls and women faced stigma and discrimination and in some parts of the world, they were seen as unclean thereby restricting their movement and access to spaces.

“Certain cultural norms also forbid menstruating women and girls from touching certain foods with the belief that they would go bad. Simply put, period poverty affects women and girls in diverse ways, and it is unacceptable.”

“The most important thing is demystifying menstrual health issues and the whole subject of menstruation. As we celebrate World Menstrual Hygiene Day, let us pledge to amplify voices, uplift the marginalised, and create a world where our young girls and women are free to realise their potential.” 

“Let us pledge to speak out against the stigmas associated with menstruation and work towards a world where no woman or girl is held back by her period,” she said. She also noted that the theme for this year’s celebration – “Together for a Period Friendly World” underscored the need for a collective action towards menstrual health and called for providing accurate information to ensure access to affordable and sustainable menstrual products.

“I join my voice to all those who are championing efforts to eradicate period poverty. Together, we can take away the stigma, misconception and challenges that women and girls face monthly,” she said.

Donation

Mrs Bawumia donated 5,000 packs of sanitary pads and Menstrual Hygiene Information, Education and Communication (IEC) packs to the female students in the Ga Central Municipal Education Directorate to help alleviate some of the menstrual health challenges in the area.

In attendance were the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Darkoa Newman; Deputy Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund, Dr Emmily Kamwendo-Naphambo; Member of Parliament for Anyaa Sowutuom, Dr Dickson Adomako Kissi; and a former Director of Education, Ga Central Municipality, Dennis Diana Oye Welbeck.

Others were the Deputy Director-General, Ghana Education Service, Dr K. B. Tandoh; Regional Director of Health, Ghana Health Service, Dr Akosua Owusu Sarpong; Municipal Director of Health, Dr Esther Odame, and Municipal Director of Education, Adiza Tassa.

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