Enact Policies That Guarantee Free Menstrual Products In Schools -Agency Tells Govt

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Government has been urged to endorse policies that guarantee free menstrual products in schools and standardised toilets equipped with these necessities.

Director, The Inclusion Project (TIP), Pamela Okoroigwe made the call during a one-day webinar organised by TIP in partnership with Sisters’ Bond Initiative to mark 2024 World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Okoroigwe also stressed the need for the government to partner with manufacturers of menstrual products to subsidise costs and eliminate import duties to enhance accessibility and affordability.

According to Okoroigwe, “There is, therefore, a pressing need for increased involvement by the government and Non-Governmental Organisation to address this ugly and increasing challenge of period poverty and its impact on the mental health of affected women.

‘’Addressing these issues is crucial not only for the physical health of women and girls, but also for their mental well-being, ensuring they can fully participate in education and employment opportunities without the additional burden of menstrual hygiene challenges.’’

Highlighting a recent survey conducted by the organisers of the webinar, Okoroigwe said it aimed to examine the impact of the lack of menstrual hygiene products on women’s mental health in Nigeria.

The survey which was launched during the webinar, she explained discussed the findings and recommendations to address period poverty and its impact on mental health.

Giving a break down of the survey, she said : “The findings indicate diverse product use: sanitary pads 27.94 percent, toilet paper 20.77 percent, tampons 14.89 percent, and cloth 32.72 percent.

“Invariably, the issue of accessibility and or affordability of this essential product remains a major question yet to be addressed; 64.7 percent of respondents struggle to access menstrual hygiene products.

“This undesirable inadequacy affects education and employment, with 60.8 percent missing school or work.
The emotional toll on this is extremely severe, as 78.4 percent report mood changes, stress, and social isolation and stigmatisation.’’

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