Millions of girls still lack access to sanitary pads, proper information about menstruation

sanitary pads, girls

Many girls are complaining about the high cost of sanitary pads in the markets.

The cheapest pad in the market is sold three for N250.00 and a girl having heavy flow may use up to five pads in a day. If one multiplies five pads in a day by four days, it means, she may use 20 pads per month. That means, a lady will spend almost N1,500.00 every month for pad.

Meanwhile, a 25-year old girl, Mercy Kennedy, who is waiting to enter into a university in September, said her mother cut some pieces of clothes which she is using as sanitary pads every month since she can’t afford to buy pads. She appealed to the government to find a way to subsidize sanitary pads because they are essential commodities.

Over 100 million young girls across the world lack access to affordable sanitary products.

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This was revealed by a young lady online.

A journalist, Josephine Agbonkhese, shared how she herald her first menstruation and emphasized that millions of girls result to self-isolation whenever they are on their periods. “School stays on-hold too as they cannot risk being scorned over a wandering bloodstain,” says the writer.

She revealed this in a topic she titled: “Beyond my first menstrual experience.”

She recalled how she had a pack of Always Menstrual Pad safely secured for more than a year before she ever saw her first period.

“I was practically looking forward to the day my very first period will appear, thanks to a team of amazing women who visited my secondary school, United Christian Secondary School, Apapa, Lagos.

“They told us all we needed to know about menstruation and menstrual health, and then distributed a pack of Always menstrual pad to every girl in the school, regardless of age.

“The pads looked very lovely and I could not wait to try them on. I was over 10 years of age and felt sad that I had not started menstruating and would be unable to use them. I therefore anxiously awaited my own D-Day. That day never came until I was almost 12; but I kept my pack of pad like anyone would tightly secure a million dollar (Laughs).

“How I danced acrobatic the day I first spotted blood stains on my underwear is a story for another day,” she explained.

She wondered how many girls still get that opportunity.

“I have heard stories about girls who hid news of their first menses even from their mothers and closest siblings, simply because they felt something terrible had come upon them. Perhaps a disease, a thing of shame– and of course one that would bring about derision.

“I have also heard stories of girls who cried until their eyeballs popped, simply because they spotted blood stains on their underwears for the first time.

“The teaching of menstruation and menstrual health has never really been taken seriously by schools even when Reproduction remains a constant topic in the syllabus.”

She berated how lack of information about menstruation has multiple consequences, both for girls and their various societies, adding that it leads to damaging misconceptions and discrimination and causes girls to miss out on normal childhood experiences and activities.

In her words: “Studies have also revealed that poor menstrual hygiene can result in physical health risks. It has also been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections.

“This is not to mention the stigma, taboos and myths that prevent adolescent girls (and even boys) from the opportunity to learn about menstruation. Unfortunately, this is one opportunity that would have enabled them develop healthy habits.

“Thanks to all who have taken it upon themselves to ensure girls are not confused about the very core of their femininity.

She thanked every individual and organisation working hard to bridge the gaps. “I say please, do not relent. Many more girls like me will testify of your efforts in years to come. So sad I do not know the name of the exact organisation that visited my school,” she added.

Some ladies reacted to her narrative by sharing their experiences.

Anthonia Duru said she was ashamed to tell her mother when she started seeing her period in November 1996. “My mum didn’t get to know until six months later. When she discovered she told me to avoid men like plague including our cathechist whom I was close to then. Ask me why I didn’t tell her when I saw first blood, and I will tell you I don’t know. She later told me to inform her monthly when I see my flow which I seldom did.”

Another lady, Mary N., said it is a pity she could not vividly remember what her first experience was like. “Maybe, because I started learning a lot of things ahead of time on my own by reading any book I stumbled upon. So, when it came, it wasn’t an awkward experience to me at all.”

Also, Kings V. eulogized schools for doing their best these days on menstrual hygiene,. “It is a subtopic under reproduction.

And thanks to Always sanitary pad because they keep going about schools sharing packs in the past,” she said.

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