As Ghana joined the rest of the world to observed World Menstrual Hygiene Day, Member of Parliament (MP) for Oforikrom in the Ashanti region, Dr Emmanuel Marfo has called for concerted efforts towards providing free sanitary pads to school girls in their communities.
According to him, even though sanitary pads are not costly as compared to other basic needs of women, the absence of it does affect girl child education when the girl experience menstruation during school hours.
Hon Marfo made the call while contributing to a statement to observe World Menstrual Hygiene Day made by Comfort Doyon Ghansah, Member of Parliament for Ada.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day on May 28 to help break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls.
Many societies around the world, taboos associated with menstruation, combined with an overall culture of silence around the topic, limit the ability of women and girls to fully and equally participate in society, undermining their overall social status and self-esteem.
It has also been reported that many young school girls failed or Refused to go to school when experiencing menstrual cycles.
But the Oforikrom lawmaker believed it was time for him and his colleague MPs step in with support which is more essential than simply a basic need to the young girls.
Dr Marfo said he is leading the initiative for all public schools in Oforikrom to provide free menstrual products in school stores and restrooms for girls, stressing that “Menstrual products are as necessary as toilet paper and soap, but can be expense too many for struggling families."
“No student should miss a day of school or feel ashamed because they don’t have access to menstrual products, a diaper does not cost as compare to other hygiene products,” he added.
He observed that as MPs and agents of development, they have to take up the challenge whilst seeking government intervention through the Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection.
"In the considered opinion of the Oforokrom lawmaker, if MPs are able to afford footballs and Jerseys for youth groups in their constituencies, then it would not be a problem extend same to provide diapers for young school girls," he stated.
Dr Marfo who is a Medical Doctor by profession affirmed that he would quickly start the crusade at all public schools in the constituency for free tampons and pads in a move designed to fight menstruation problems and ensure that school girls remain safe and comfortable in classrooms during their periods.
It is reported that, around the world, millions of girls miss school while menstruating or drop out altogether because they cannot afford pads or tampons.
According to UNESCO, one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa miss school during their periods. And even in the world’s wealthiest countries, like the US and UK, some girls and women cannot afford the products they need to safely and comfortably manage their periods.