The UN Children’s Fund has stressed the need for adolescent girls to have conducive environment for menstrual hygiene management in schools.
The National Coordinator of UNICEF ‘ Win 4 Girls Project ‘ in Nigeria, Prof. Nkadi Onyegbegbu, made the call at “Menstrual Hygiene Management Workshop for Adolescent Girls in Public Schools” on Monday in Iragbiji, Osun State.
Onyegbegbu said the challenges adolescent girls faced during menstruation in schools were enormous.
She added that a UNICEF research in some selected schools in Nigeria showed that there was no conducive situation, in terms of washing facilities for menstruating girls to be comfortable with.
She noted that the lack of functional, segregated toilet, washing facilities, affordable and hygienic menstrual products were some of the problems menstruating female students faced in most schools.
She, therefore, called for the provision of functional toilets with running water, soap, mirror and affordable sanitary pads for adolescent girls during menstruation.
Onyegbegbu also called for the teaching of Menstrual Hygiene Management for adolescent girls in schools in the country, stressing that “menstruation means that a girl’s body is growing up and is getting prepared for the future.
“It means that she might get pregnant and have a baby.
“However, due to religious beliefs and taboos, menstruation among girls is seen as something that must not be discussed in public.
“Adolescent girls are having challenges during menstruation because it is not discussed in schools and this is causing serious problems.
“We have the culture of ‘zip your mouth’ during menstruation due to taboos, religious beliefs, negative attitude and shame.
“Menstruation is not only a health problem but also a social and educational problem which must be tackled.
“We must say no to negative attitude of culture placed on menstruation.”
Onyegbegbu, who educated girls on stages of menstrual cycle during the workshop, noted that bleeding was nothing to be scared of during menstruation, saying it was perfectly normal.
Earlier, Alhaji Posi Adiatu, the Programme Manager, Osun Rural Water Environmental Sanitation Agency (RUWESA), said the state government was committed to providing water in schools.
He said the provision of water in schools was line with global best practice to ease the burden of female students in the management of menstruation.
Represented by Mr Segun Moyinoluwa, the Director of Sanitation and Hygiene, RUWESA, Adiatu said that the state, in collaboration with EU/UNICEF and AFDB, created awareness on perceived silence on menstruation.
She explained that a workshop was organised for parents, teachers and school administrators on how best to manage the situation.