Expert highlights impediments to proper menstrual hygiene



Expert highlights impediments to proper menstrual hygiene


By Olatunde Ajayi


A medical doctor, Dr Gbemisola Daramola, says poor menstrual education, both in schools and at home, remain one of the challenges facing the girl child in Nigeria.


Daramola made this known at a sensitisation programme on menstrual hygiene for selected secondary school students, held at Oba Akinbiyi Model High School, Ibadan.


The programme with the theme ‘Discussion on Menstrual Hygiene: A Basic Health Right’ was organised by The Female Professionals’ Book Club, a non-governmental organisation.


It is in commemoration of the 2023 World Menstrual Hygiene Day, observed on May 28 annually, to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene care and management.


The medical expert explained that poor menstrual health and hygiene undercuts fundamental rights which include the right to work and go to school for women and girls.


Daramola added that most girls learned about menstrual period from their friends and not from the appropriate quarters such as their parents, guardians or school teachers.


According to her, insufficient resources and facilities in schools such as good toilets, water, soap and proper waste disposal facilities to manage menstruation, as well as patterns of exclusion and shame, undermine human dignity.


“Females do not have access to adequate sanitary facilities during their menstruation, particularly for young girls in Africa and Nigeria, many of them have to stay away from school during this period.


“So, it was then that we decided that we were going to have this programme where we distribute free sanitary towels to girls, particularly girls in public secondary schools.


“And also teach them the importance of menstruation and why it should not be a hindrance to them, particularly to their education, that it is a normal thing and they can cope with it.


“There are quite a number of challenges associated with menstrual hygiene; the girl child not being properly educated at home and in school to know what to expect and how to take care of themselves.


“Many of these girls don’t have the adequate materials even to take care of themselves.


“They are using inappropriate materials during menstrual cycle, not because they can’t afford it, but because somebody is not paying attention to provide these things for them,” Daramola said.


She cautioned that poor menstrual hygiene could lead to infection, complications in the genitals, entire reproductive system of the body and additionally social embarrassment as a result of offensive odour.


Also speaking, the Founder, The Female Professionals’ Book Club, Mrs Ezinne Ibe, said that the awareness programme was to expose the students to the importance of good menstrual hygiene and why menstruation should not be a hindrance to academic process.


She said that about 200 students were selected from seven different schools in Ibadan North Local Government Area to benefit from the pilot phase of the programme.


“In all, we invited seven schools and targeted 200 students for them to be part of what we are talking about.


“It is a pilot project, we had to go about looking for sponsorship.


“We thank all our sponsors and also our members who donated money for the success of the event.


“Being an NGO, having a social aspect of us and the desire to reach out to people, we decided to come up with something like this and today is a remarkable day and I’m very thankful to God and I’m thankful to the TFP Book Club,” Ibe said.

Also, Mrs Sylvia Oyinlola, a member of the NGO, said that the sensitisation programme would eradicate myths and taboos that surround menstrual period.


Oyinlola urged government to make adequate provisions of good toilets with constant water supply in all public schools in the state.


“This is the best way to start them young by sharing this information, having someone to talk about it.


“So that we can demystify all the myths and taboos that are around it and then move on to provide them the right information that they need.


“We need the government to ensure that public schools have proper toilets with running water, that is the minimum we can ask from our government for young girls because these girls are the future of our society,” Oyinlola said.


Commenting, the Local Education Inspector, Ibadan North LGA, Mr Lukman Okesade, said that the sensitisation programme would reawaken the zeal to read.


He charged the students to imbibe the reading habit to become relevant in future.


“I want to encourage you not to take your studies lightly; please read, and when you read, I can assure you what you are going to make for a living you will get it,” Okesade said.


One of students from Oba Akinbiyi Model High School, Justina Tani, said that the programme had increased her knowledge on menstrual hygiene management, how to prepare, keep clean and safe during her menstrual period.


“The programme was educative and interesting, I have learnt that when we are menstruating we should not be moody, we should be jovial, and I would like to thank the organiser for this event,” Tani said.


The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisation programme featured distribution of sanitary pads to the students, lectures, questions and answers, among others. (NAN) (

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