Teachers in basic schools have been advised to include boys in menstrual hygiene education so they (boys) are able to support their female friends during their menstrual cycle.
According to Nana Ama Adutwumwaa, founder of Touching the Lives of Girls Foundation (TLGF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that focuses on promoting menstrual hygiene, including men and boys in the menstrual hygiene discussions would reduce the stigma associated with menstruation.
She said some girls stay away from school during their monthly menstrual cycle because they are shy their male friends may find out and ridicule them.
“Boys should also be made aware that it is a natural occurrence in women; they should also be educated so they can assist their friends, sisters and mothers, such stigmatisation should not hinder girls from going about their duties when they are in their menstrual period,” she said.
Ms Adutwumwaa who was speaking at a menstrual hygiene durbar at Afrangua in the Central Region, also called for increased public awareness to eradicate the misconceptions, myths and negative perceptions about menstruation.
“Most girls feel shy about their menses and go through it secretively, unfortunately, most of them do not maintain proper menstrual hygiene and this predisposes them to many life threatening diseases.”
The essence of her campaign therefore, was to provide adequate education on menstruation and how to properly take care of one’s self during the period.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times, she explained that every year, May 28 is set aside globally to raise awareness and combat taboos associated with menstrual hygiene.
The global day provides a platform for NGOs, government agencies, media and private sector operators to promote menstrual hygiene management.
The theme for this year —It’s Time for Action—does not only emphasise the urgency of this public health issue, but also highlights the transformative power of improved menstrual hygiene to empower the women and girls and unlock their economic and educational opportunities.
She said over the years, her organisation has held events in different parts of the country aimed at educating girls on the importance of proper menstrual hygiene and also distributed sanitary pads to girls in some communities.
She expressed gratitude to Pretty Lady Sanitary Pads and Ounje International Limited for supporting this year’s event.
Speaking at the event, Nana Ama Agyekum Kufuor, the daughter of former President John Agyekum Kufuor said, menstruation was a normal biological process and a key sign of reproductive health, yet in many cultures it was treated as something negative, shameful or dirty.
She said all schools must have a menstrual-friendly environment by having changing rooms for girls to change while in their menses at school to make them feel comfortable.
Queen Mother of Afrangua Traditional Area, Nana Aba Ansaba II, assured the team that together with teachers and opinion leaders in the communities, they would increase awareness creation for girls to understand that menstruation was not a taboo but a natural occurrence.
By Times Reporter