At least one hundred school girls in Lagos have received free reusable sanitary pads, donated by the Sanitary Pad Media Campaign, SPMC, through the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists, Lagos Chapter.
The event which took place at Iju Senior Secondary School, Iju Ishaga, is in commemoration of a special day for the promotion of Menstrual Hygiene and Fight against Period Poverty, was flagged off with the distribution of re-usable pads by the SPMC.
Speaking at the event, the Convener of SPMC, Ms. Anike-Ade Funke Treasure, represented by Ms. Julie Ekong, a Deputy Director, News, Radio Nigeria, Lagos identified consistent supply of sanitary pad as a way to enhances good menstrual health and promotion of period dignity.
She stated that the SPMC is anchored on Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development goals, SDG of the United Nations.
“SPMC has structured its campaign around promoting period dignity during monthly periods for girls, cushioning the effects of period poverty in rural and urban areas in Nigeria, contributing to ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, supporting the adoption, strengthening of sound policies and enforceable legislation by demanding for free sanitary pads for school aged girls in Nigeria”.
She noted that SPMC is a response to the increasing rate of out-of-school girls in Nigeria, especially since UNICEF stated that not less than 1.3 million Nigerian adolescent girls drop out of schools before completing their Junior Secondary Schools annually.
“No one can anyone survive in the 21st century without basic education that would set her up for empowerment and growth, Girls don’t go to school because they lack pads and pants to maintain their menstrual hygiene amongst other factors, Period poverty is therefore one of the factors responsible for the high rate”.
“With this in mind, we flagged off the campaign in May 2020 during the COVID era by unveiling our campaign advocates, about 100 women and men within the Nigerian media and allied sectors who have joined us to push the frontiers”.
“We flagged off the One-Year Sanitary Pad Scholarship for School Aged Girls in Nigeria in October, 2021.We now cover four states – Lagos, Oyo, Kwara and Kaduna States. With donors like Diatom Impact, which donated 10,000 units of reusable sanitary pads, we are now expanding to more communities in the country.
she added that with the development, the organization now has over 300 girls on the One-Year Pad Scholarship.
“Of this number, 60 are living with disabilities and located in different homes and organisations in Ibadan, Oyo State, here are 20 girls each in Ilorin, Kwara State and Zaria, Kaduna State. Others are in underserved communities of Bariga, Ajegunle, Lagos Island, Igando and Maryland in Lagos State. We are expanding”.#
In her words, the school principal, Mrs. Olabisi Shyllon, expressed gratitude for the donations and expressed her willingness to continue to provide support system to the students and guarantee that they do not suffer any stigmatization during menstruation.
Also a Consultant Physician and Adolescent Health Coordinator at the Lagos State Ministry of Heath, Dr. Yeside Shogbamirin, urged the students to pay more attention to their bodies and should not be ashamed of menstruation because it is their reproductive rights.
In her remarks, the Lagos Coordinator of Network for Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, Mrs. Kikelomo Oduyebo, called on government to subsidise the cost of sanitary pads to make it affordable to young girls.
The theme of the World Menstrual Hygiene Day this year is “Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030.”