Ahead of this year’s observance of World Menstrual Health and Hygiene Day, some Nigerian government departments and agencies opened what they described as tampon banks for use by female staff.
The initiative, according to the country’s women’s affairs minister, Pauline Tallen, is to respond to emergencies at work.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ms Tallen revealed this on Tuesday during a conversation with the media, students and other stakeholders in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria. .
Ms Tallen, according to NAN, said the gesture was aimed at raising awareness about menstrual hygiene, in keeping with the theme of the annual celebration.
The theme for 2022 is “Making menstruation a normal part of life by 2030”.
She said, “As the Coordinating Ministry and National Secretariat for Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management, we have also made remarkable progress in the management of Menstrual Health and Hygiene in Nigeria.
“It should be mentioned that some ministries, through advocacy, unveil their Pad Banks, to respond to emergencies in their working environment.”
According to her, the MDAs include the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Water Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, Interior, Youth and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), among others.
The Minister therefore encouraged others, especially those in the private sector, to imitate the gesture for the well-being and comfort of women and young girls.
“I therefore wish to take this opportunity to call on other MDAs and other stakeholders, including airlines, schools and security agencies, to join the campaign to make menstruation a normal covenant of life, by installing Pad Banks in their spaces.
“Together, if we strengthen our collaboration, the existing structures to end violence against children and ensure a better future for our country will be maintained,” she said.
Erika Godson, Deputy Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), encouraged the public to see menstrual hygiene as essential for women and girls.
On the issue of obstetric fistula, Ms. Godson called on relevant stakeholders to improve the quality of services in the health system.
“We encourage our health system to improve the quality of services, so that women can give birth safely and do not end up with the problem of obstetric fistula.
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“It will put them in such discriminatory conditions, in which they will not be able to contribute meaningfully to society,” she said.
Also speaking, Latifat Kabir-Yahaya, a student, highlighted the need for students to be able to access and afford sanitary pads at all times.
She said low access to menstrual hygiene products and poor sanitation infrastructure undermined educational opportunities, health and the general social status of women and girls.
Similarly, Benjamin Ojionu, a student from Garki Junior High School, emphasized the need to educate the male child as well on issues affecting women and children.
He said greater awareness would improve menstrual hygiene and prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Other highlights of the day include the distribution of sanitary napkins to some students.
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