The use of reusable pads by females, especially young girls during menstruation, is unhygienic and unsafe, a health advocate has warned.
Mrs Mercy Acquah-Hayford, the National Coordinator of the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA Ghana), who raised the concerns, noted that reusable pads could cause infections to the user.
She, therefore, cautioned young girls against its usage.
She gave the caution in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, at a menstrual health awareness programme held for some school students of the John Wesley Methodist School, in Accra.
Organised by INERELA Ghana, the programme sought to educate children, especially young girls on how to effectively manage their menstrual life in a more hygienic manner.
It was funded by the United Nations Women Trust Fund and formed part of activities to commemorate this year's Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Globally, 1.8 billion people menstruate every month, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimates.
Millions of girls, women, transgender men and women and non-binary persons are unable to manage their menstrual cycle in a dignified, healthy way, said UNICEF.
The situation has been attributed to the inability of these persons to acquire sanitary products due to poverty, among other things.
As a result, some health persons and groups including Non-Governmental Organisations in health have, in recent times, advocated the use of reusable pads due to their affordability.
Mrs Acquah-Hayford noted that this defeated every purpose of promoting a hygienic menstrual life.
“I am not trying to spoil somebody's business but, we were formally doing reusable, and along the line, we realized that, as health personnel, people were coming with infections and other things, we advocated for this single-use pads.
“Now, we are saying people should use reusable? How do they get portable water to wash it, especially school children, who are in school? Even in the boarding schools, some schools don't have water, so, how is she going to wash it?” She asked.
Mrs Acquah-Hayford added that: “Again, seeing a lot of blood on the pad, you said the person should wash it. Is it not re-introducing infections?
“So, we should go back to the drawing board and sit down and look at it. That's my opinion.”
Mrs Acquah-Hayford, who is a retired health officer, called on health authorities to come out with policies to ensure the safety of young girls during their menstrual periods.
“I don't know if the Family Health Unit knows this, but, if they are aware, then, they have to come out with policies that can make people use it safely,” she emphasised.
She appealed to the government to subsidise sanitary pads to make them more affordable and promote healthy menstrual hygiene.
“I think the cost of pads should be reduced, so, Government should step in and reduce the prices. For me, pads should be affordable for everyone to buy,” said Mrs Acquah-Hayford.
Madam Paulina Essel, a Counselor and a resource person advised the young girls to prioritise their education to ensure a better future.
She took the pupils through the proper usage and disposal of the sanitary pads.
INERELA Ghana presented sanitary pads to all the girls and teachers to keep in their first aid boxes.
Introduced in 2014, the Menstrual Hygiene Day is marked on May 28, annually, to raise awareness about the issues faced by those who do not have access to sanitary products.