Mrs Cathy Amato, founder of Latiwa Development Foundation, has called on government to support young school girls during menstrual period by providing facilities such as menstrual pad banks, toilets and water in schools.
Amato made the call in Abuja, while sharing 400 menstrual kits to students of Government Day Secondary School and Ena International School Kuje.
Amato, who said that the exercise was done in collaboration with Ray of Hope Foundation, added that it was part of activities to mark the 2019 World Menstrual Hygiene Day.
“Government needs to do more advocacy and awareness programme for the girls and support them with materials that can be of help during their menstrual period.
“Though government is doing some health programmes; it needs to do more and go into the villages.
“They need to partner with different NGOs, communities and traditional leaders,” she said.
Amato said that it would help in creating awareness and sensitisation to school girls.
She also urged parents and teachers to give early education on menstruation hygiene to their children and students when in schools.
“Parents need to talk to their children because education is power and that there is nothing to be ashamed about menstruation.
“They need to discuss with them about changes in their bodies and how to take care of them.
“And again, if you share the information, you prevent so many things, you prevent the infection, diseases and early pregnancy,” she said.
Speaking on the kits distributed, she said that the aim was to make the students know that there was nothing to be ashamed about menstrual hygiene.
“The importance is to know that there is no shame about it and it will also reduce the burden for those who cannot afford it, and to make them know that we stand with them.
“The menstrual circle kits we shared was also enable them know how to calculate their menstrual period to take care of them and also prevent early pregnancy, it is important for them to know.’’
The National Coordinator, Ray of Hope Foundation, Christybelle Sylva-John said the sensitisation awareness was aimed at catching the girls young.
“We need to catch them young on menstrual hygiene and share menstrual kits for them.
“We also appeal to the government and kind hearted Nigerians to come together and make a sustainable way of assisting the girls.
“Because you find out that some girls tend to sew dirty clothes that leads infection,” she said.
Christopher Sharon, a student of Ena International School, commended the NGOs for sharing the kits and sensitising them about menstrual hygiene.
She said that the programme had given her better understanding of menstrual hygiene.
Another student, Anabel Isharen said that she learnt that there was need for girls to take their baths regularly during the period and dispose whatever product used hygienically.
She urged parents to provide money for their children to get menstrual products during their periods.
Mrs Elizabeth Igbokwe, a Director in Primary Health Centre, Kuje, also called on government to embark on school health talks to assist students at their formative stage.
“During their formative age, they are supposed to be informed on how to properly manage their bodies during their menstrual periods.
“Also there should be parental guide during the period, so that they will be able to tell them on what to expect.
“They should have something to clean themselves and not allow the blood to drop or leak out.”