By Ignatius Ushie.
The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMoWA) has unveiled the menstrual pad bank to carter for the needs of women and girls during their monthly period in emergency situations.
The Minister, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the programme was part of activities to mark the 2021 Menstrual Hygiene Day with a theme, “We need to Step Up Action and Investment in Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHHM) Now!. According to the Minister,
“A Pad Bank is today instituted in the Ministry and it will serve as a model for all Public Institutions including MDAs, Hotels, Banks and indeed even in supermarkets and open markets.
“This is to enable girls’ anywhere and everywhere to have access to pad in times of emergencies, when suddenly they experience their monthly flow which can come at any point in time without warning,” she said.
Speaking further, Tallen said the ministry had set up a committee on MHHM to ensure that adolescents girls and women of reproductive age are able to manage their menstrual cycle with dignity, adding that, stakeholders should replicate the gesture by establishing menstrual pad bank in their facilities, Tallen, said menstrual items will be donated to schools around the six Area Councils of the FCT and other states across the federation with supports from partners.
Earliar in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Anthonia Ekpa, Phd. stressed the need to promote good menstrual health and hygiene management and break stigmas that exist around young girls and women during their menstrual cycle.
UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Comfort Lamptey said the need for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities, particularly in schools to eliminate reasons girls dont attend schools during their monthly period be adequately provided.
Lamptey, represented by the National Program Officer called for increased funding to the FMoWA to enable them achieve their mandates on women and children issues.
Sharon Oladiji, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF charged parents and media on communicating with children and public on appropriate information on menstrual hygiene, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and rights.
In the same manner, Raquel Daniel, MHM Consultant urged parents to build their children’s knowledge on menstrual hygiene to enable them get information from reliable sources.
Speaking on behalf on Women in Area one IDPs camp, Miss Fatima Mohammed, decried lack of access to sanitary items, especially water and pads during their monthly period. According to her, most of the women resort to using their head-scarfs or old clothes as sanitary pad, noting that with the aide of the Ministry of Women Affairs and other partners that donated sanitary pad to them as it would provide them with alternative materials used during their menstrual period. She and other women who have benefited from this kind gesture are very appreciative.
High point of the event was the distribution of sanitary pads, writing materials, towels and other items to students from varuous schools in FCT, special need persons, IDP camp.