PLAN International, a girls advancement Non Governmental Organisation(NGO) has called on stakeholders, policy makers, to lay emphasise on the issues of Menstrual health and hygiene.
The Country Director, PLAN International Nigeria, Charles Osei, stated this at a one day stakeholders dialogue to commemorate menstrual hygiene. Themed, Menstruation Matters: My Period, My Pride on Tuesday in Abuja.
Osei said, Menstrual hygiene should be a national issue, as no woman chooses to menstruate or not, adding, this is biological and should take make priority than the issues of productivity.
He lamented that, with heightened insecurity situations in the country the girl child do not only to have be scared of being kidnapped or violated but also worry about her menstrual state, this he noted, increases stress level for women in Nigeria.
“A woman kidnapped at the concept of her period, apart from the fear that she has been kidnapped, and the fear of insecurity, rape, shame, vulnerability, she will be afraid and worried of her Menstrual health.
“In recent years over 209 girls have been kidnapped, carried away from school. Imagine a girl that is menstruating in such predicament.
“While men will have the tendency to be stressed by 40 or 50% a woman will be stressed by 120%, because the layers of problems and discomfort that she will experience is ten times more than what a man will face.
“If we do not preach this to the consciousness of every one in this country and make it a national issue then we are not ready to get it right. We need to make the issue of Menstrual health a public health issue, it is not a psychological problem. No woman can choose not to menstruate, it is a biological phenomenon.
While reaffirming the position of the organisation, the Director noted that, “PLAN international across the nation are not neutral, we stand with the girls, we are deliberate and intentional.
“One person cannot do all the work, we have over 30million girls behind to tackle issues they have no power over, those at low cadre. No girl deserve to be faced with the decision of life saving activity girl issues are national issues and should not be ignored.
“We challenge all the men in Nigeria to talk about it. To sit and discuss issues around Menstrual health with our daughters, when we do that it then becomes part of the consciousness especially those in the decision making sphere.
On his part, UNICEF Strategic Director, Job Omini, disclosed that the biggest problem of menstruation is the culture of silence, as people do not want to talk about it, stating, they bottle up their feelings as such do not enjoy the support they need.
Omini further stated that, “I have encountered cases where people were using leaves, clothes, rags, during menstruation we know this is not the best and as such we have to create an avenue to correct this.
Also, FCT Primary Healthcare Board, Executive Director, Yakubu Mohammed, states that the population of person that experience menstruation monthly is large, and cannot be ignored. When noting that, this is a human right and making advocacy to promote dignity in menstruation is important.
Represented by Dr. Aderonke Akande, Mohammed said, “about 1.8million people globally menstruate every month. Creating a world where a girl child will attend school and go about her activities without the fear of stigmatization by creating awareness is essential.