A coalition of non-governmental organisations in Bauchi State has called for the inclusion of menstrual health in secondary education curriculum to promote hygiene and reduce the stigma girls face.
The NGOs during a campaign tagged: “Period Reality” which in Kairos Initiative, Alwadata Initiative, ASHH Foundation and Community Advocate for Rural Development (CARD), on Thursday, believed that the inclusion of menstrual education on school curriculum would boost the confidence of young girls who think menstruation is absurd or taboo.
While speaking, Mrs Winifred Yusuf said that since the government has decided to make biology optional –a subject where students will learn more about men’s and women’s reproductive systems.
“I learnt about the human reproductive system in biology but nobody taught us menstrual hygiene. We need to improve on the curriculum. Things have gone beyond amoeba, spirogyra, lizards and all of those things we were taught.
“In our enlightenment and advocacy events, we discovered that some women and girls do not know what menstrual hygiene is all about. We asked a boy what he knew about menstruation and he said when a girl is mature to have sex. This shows that we need to educate them right from school. We are doing the education with even nine year old girls that are yet to start menstruation.”
The coalition said that it developed reusable pads for girls and women based on the current economic reality of the country. The sanitary pad, according to the NGOs, is made to last for at least two years. “The sanitary pad would reduce the cost of disposable ones. We realised that a pack of pads costs between N700 and N1,000. If you calculate this in one year and multiply till a girl becomes a woman, it’s a lot of money.”
Also, Team Lead, Kairos Initiative, Dr. Moji Iheme encouraged girls to speak up against violence and stigmatisation against them. She said that menstruation should not be seen as odd in the community.