Menstruation: A normal fact of life not a taboo — Girls Shall Grow

By Sampson Manu || Contributor
Health & Fitness Menstruation: A normal fact of life not a taboo — Girls Shall Grow

Regrettably, discussions around menstruation are still shrouded in secrecy due to social norms, religious beliefs, and related myths.

This phenomenon can be attributed to many factors including lack or inadequacy of knowledge, myths or beliefs and misconceptions about menstruation.

It is for this reason that calls have been intensified for the need to increase awareness and education on menstrual hygiene.

Girls Shall Grow, a Non-Governmental Organization headquartered in Obuasi has been at the forefront of campaigns to sensitize young girls on the need to maintain personal hygiene and also correct certain misconceptions about menstruation.

Speaking at a symposium organized by Girls Shall Grow and the SRC Women's commission of KNUST- Obuasi campus to mark the 2024 World Menstrual Hygiene Day in Obuasi, the Executive Director of Girls Shall Grow, Louisa Amoah, bemoaned the level of stigmatization and misconceptions associated with menstruation.

She said menstruation is a natural process experienced by all adolescent girls hence should not be treated as a taboo. He encouraged the girls to be confident and speak out against all forms of maltreatment encountered during menstruation.

The symposium brought together about 300 students from KNUST- Obuasi campus, Junior High and Senior High schools in Obuasi as well as health personnel to share their opinions on how to maintain menstrual hygiene.

Menstrual health is a fundamental aspect of human rights, dignity, and public health. Menstrual Hygiene Day, observed annually on May 28th, is dedicated to breaking taboos and raising awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene management.

Together for a period-friendly world
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the program, Mrs Louisa Amoah said the theme for this year's celebration "Together for a period friendly world" was spot on stressing that it's about time issues of menstruation are demystified and make it an open subject for all to discuss.

"We realize that there is a whole hostile environment making it very difficult for girls to freely talk about menstruation and their experiences, so we are seizing opportunities like this to sensitize the girls to freely speak out while advising the public to make it easier for issues of menstruation to be discussed".

Dr. (Med) Enyonam Kwawukume, the Obuasi East District Health Director who was the resource person on the day took participants through the four phases of the menstrual cycle. This she said includes; menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation and the luteal phase.

She said common menstrual problems encountered by women during menstruation are heavy or painful periods and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

She advised the girls to be careful during menstrual cycle since the chances to get pregnant always increase at this stage.

The need to make sanitary pads accessible

The women's commissioner of KNUST-Obuasi campus Claudia Owusu Amoh said the need for girls to maintain good hygiene during menstruation was what necessitated their collaboration with Girls Shall Grow for the program.

She however appealed to government to intervene by making sanitary pads accessible to girls in school.

"Now the cost factor in getting sanitary pads has become a challenge for parents. While government looks at bringing the cost down, I am suggesting that government can give out free sanitary pads to school girls just as we do for books and uniforms".

A student of the Boete L/ A JHS 'B' Etilda Banoba recounted the ordeal her mum goes through periodically to get sanitary pads for her. She said the cost of sanitary pads has made it difficult for her to maintain proper hygiene during that period of the month.

"It hasn’t been easy since I started menstruating. The price of the pads is very high so getting sanitary pads and food at the same time is something difficult for my mother to get. This is really a challenge for most of us".

She appealed to government and other benevolent institutions to volunteer sanitary pads for girls especially those in schools. This she said can prevent frequent absenteeism in schools.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024