World vision Ghana on Thursday, 1st June, 2023 commemorated this year’s international menstrual hygiene day at Damongo in the west Gonja municipality of the savannah region and joined calls on Government to repeal taxes on sanitary pads and classify them as essential medical items which attracts zero tax.
The day was observed with a float through the principal streets of Damongo and later climaxed with drama plays by some selected schools on menstrual hygiene to educate girls and women on the need to live a healthy and dignified life during their menstrual period.
This year’s celebration was under the theme: “We Are Committed to Making Menstruation a Normal Fact of Life by 2030″ with the distribution of free sanitary pads to adolescent girls in the West Gonja Municipality.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management at a global level. It was initiated by the German-based NGO WASH United in 2013 and observed for the first time in 2014.
In an address to commemorate the day, the World Vision Ghana – Savelugu Cluster Programmes Manager, Mr. Felix Apeti explained that, Menstrual Hygiene management among the girl child remains an important component of World Vision’s interventions aimed at promoting the health and wellbeing of the girl child.
He said, their intervention seeks to equip the girl child with the requisite knowledge on hygiene practices which will impact their lives and promote equity.
He indicated that, research shows that girls during their menstrual period at the rural areas sometimes finds it difficult to relate with their peers which sometimes leads to their absence from school.
Mr. Felix further indicated that, findings equally revealed that there is the need for communities and stakeholders to be constantly engaged by way of sensitization on various platforms to eliminate the menstrual stigma, adding that it is against this background that globally, a day is set aside to commemorate menstrual hygiene day which is the 28th May of every year.
He said last year, World Vision Ghana in partnership with its key stakeholders and partners such as the adolescent youth, traditional leaders, the West Gonja Municipal Assembly, SWIDA, GHS, GES and the Environmental Health Unit commemorated the day alongside pupils and students across the West Gonja municipality on the theme; “Translating Increased Attention for Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) into Measureable Action and Investment.”
According to him, this year the day is commemorated with a much stronger voice and a theme to express their commitment to make menstruation a normal fact of life by the year 2030, reiterating that, they are committed to this important and worthy course.
He added that, In World Vision Ghana, they value people and are committed to the most vulnerable, especially girls and boys as part of their core values and their Christian faith which is directly in line with the theme to commemorate this year’s menstrual hygiene day.
He also stated that Globally, 80 million people are displaced by humanitarian crisis and even more and are in need of humanitarian assistance, adding that, approximately 1 out of 4 (or 25%) of these people are women and girls of reproductive age who need to manage their menstruation.
He added that many of the adolescent girls are out of school due to menstrual stigma and their inability to afford sanitary wares and pads, questioning if it is a crime to menstruate and Why people seek to punish God’s gift?
The Cluster Programmes Manager said this year, their call to action is simple as they are joining the millions of Ghanaian voices advocating and demanding a total repeal of taxes on sanitary pads and classify these materials under essential medical items which attracts zero tax.
He noted that the high cost of sanitary pads due to the numerous taxes poses a major threat to achieving their 2030 goal and therefore appealed to Government to create the enabling environment for the private sector to invest heavily in the mass production of sanitary pads and other essential medical items to make them very affordable and accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable groups, aside creating thousands of jobs for the youth.
He said, world vision as a Partner and stakeholder look forward to work closely with Government to achieve their 2030 goal which is tagged as #WeAreCommitted.
Speaking on behalf of the Municipal Director of Education, Mr. Adam Sulemana urged the girls to take their menstrual hygiene very serious in order to frequent themselves in school to be able to learn with their peers.
He said most girls often absent themselves from school during their menstrual period which is hindering their performances in school.
He explained that it is God who created it and so as teachers they need to support them to make sure that they are able to have their learning effectively.
Mr. Adams on behalf of the Education Directorate and teachers encouraged parent that, when their girls are in their cycle, they should assist them to be able to come to school.
He also noted that, one of the greatest things they have experienced as teachers is the stigma the girls go through from their male counterparts who usually stigmatized them and therefore urged the students who participated in the event especially the males to see themselves as ambassadors and let their colleagues in school to know that the menstrual cycle they go through is a God gift to them and stakeholder’s are fighting for them so that they will be able to stay in school to learn despite that period.
Source: Padfm.com.gh/Kumatey Gorden/0243531604