Stand Point

Sanitary Pad: Ekiti LG First Lady assisting the girl-child


With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson

What some girls go through monthly to get access to affordable sanitary products for menstrual period is best imagined. One needs  to hear their tales to appreciate their ordeals.  It is indeed a  bigger problem than  perceived. Sanitary pads needless say, helps women maintain hygiene during menstrual period. Menses is inevitable for the female folks barring pregnancy, menopause and certain health  conditions; they are bound to experience monthly flow,  which they have to dealing with it. Given the economic recession some female adolescents have to find unhygienic alternatives such as rags,  cotton wool, etctissue papers etera, which may expose them to risk of infection. It is common knowledge that the economic situation  has pushed up  rices of everything, including sanitary products. The cost of sanitary pad has gone up; it ranges between N300 and N1,500 depending on the brand and quality. Most school girls especially those from low-income families find it hard copying with the cost of sanitary products.

No doubt,  these periods come with much discomfort, so one can imagine the added stress of worrying about hygiene. Some girls in the rural areas reportedly skip school for about a week every month, for lack of sanitary pads. This period is regarded as embarrassing and believed to come with some sort of shame.

It is for this reason that one must appreciate the initiative of Mrs. Oluremi Ayeni, wife of the Ekiti Local Government Chairman,  Comrade Yinka Ayeni aka Dallas, who through her Memories Foundation, made free donation of sanitary towels to school girls in the local government.
She was able to identify the social challenge and fashioned out way to combat it by giving girls who have reached puberty sanitary products to maintain hygiene during their menstrual cycle.

Through this effort, the Ekiti LG First Lady has given, hope to the girl-child,  the opportunity to be free and to participate in daily activities as well as giving them back their dignity. It can be said that she has somewhat empowered them through the initiative.
Coupled with this,  Mrs. Ayeni gave the girls education session on puberty, menstruation, personal hygiene and sexual health, among others. It important to note that most parents shy away from this issue and as such these girls lack knowledge of these crucial matters. Conversations about periods are almost an abominable topic of discussion in most homes. It is for this reason that one must laud the LG boss’wife for the educative talk to the school girls.

By so doing,  it is believed that she is helping the beneficiaries reach their potentials, because a natural phenomenon, which is integral to a growing woman’s development should not be a barrier to her success or meant as an embarrassment or shame.
It won’t come as a surprise if some of these girls that benefitted the free sanitary pads are owning one for the first time. Undoubtedly,  she has impacted on the underprivileged girls who had barely been able to get access to these products.
Mrs. Ayeni has started on the right footing with her philanthropy and it is hope that this humanitarian gesture, which pertains to welfare is sustained. It should not be a one-off thing. She should think towards making it a monthly programme, as this will go a long way to give succour to underprivileged school girls. This she can be achieved by sourcing funds from corporate bodies and individuals as well as partner companies manufacturing the sanitary products. Effort must be made towards making this programme a sustainable scheme that will outlive the present Ekiti LG administration.

Nevertheless,  it is pertinent that other local government first ladies take a cue from this effort aimed at ameriolating the social challenges confronting the girl-child.
The Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed led administration should also invest in the menstrual health of young girls in the state.

The state government can through the office of the First Lady or the Ministry of Women Affairs provide free sanitary pads to young girls in secondary schools across the state monthly. It is important to ensure that all girl-child of puberty age irrespective of where they reside (urban centres or rural areas) have access to this essential product.
It is also crucial that the state government make sanitary education part of school syllabus to enlighten girls on maintaining hygiene during their menstrual period.
With May 28th , World Menstrual Hygiene Day, around the corner, it is incumbent on government,  corporate bodies, Non Governmental Organisations and individuals  to bring relief to distressed girls by giving them free sanitary towels.These girls are our future and need to be given necessary assistance in all areas that will help in their all-round growth and development.


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