PAD A GIRL FOUNDATION, DSYP MARK WORLD MENSTRUAL HYGIENE DAY IN DELTA

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Girl Child

By ESE OBOTE-OGWU

To commemorate the World Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Pad A Girl foundation in conjunction with the Delta State Youth Parliament (DSYP), organized a one day conference tagged: Disrupting Period Poverty in Rural Communities Across Delta State.

Held on Wednesday, the 25th of May 2022, at the Unity Hall in Government House, the event was power packed with guest speakers addressing school pupils on menstrual education.

In his keynote address, Barr. Eugene Azuka Uzum, Director General of Delta State Orientation Bureau, disclosed that menstrual hygiene was a critical part of development in the girl child.
Uzum noted that if neglected, menstrual hygiene could cause some form of low esteem and as well as being discriminated especially by the opposite sex, advocated that the girl child development should be paramount.
Also speaking at the conference on the topic: “Period Poverty An Emerging Pandemic Amongst Girl Child”, the immediate past Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Delta State Governor on Girl Child Empowerment (GCE)  Mrs Marilyn Okowa- Daramola, tasked the Nigeria government at all level to as a matter of urgency make policies that would make sanitary pad cheap and accessible to the girl child, especially those in schools.
Mrs. Daramola, who was represented by Mrs. Dorathy Isu, Consultant, Girl Child Empowerment Office, stated that “It was observed that period poverty has been an issue of great concern to the reproductive health and rights of women and girls globally, worse still, in developing countries like Nigeria.
She added that “Given the increasing evidence in low and middle income countries, about the challenges faced by girls and women in managing menstruation and inadequate guidance, it has become a neglected public health issue and emerging pandemic that needs to be prioritized and invested into.
Both speakers and other experts posited that, Poverty; inadequacies in water sanitation & hygiene (WASH); socio-economic, cultural, and poor educational integration of this essential reproductive rights of women and girls, has led to the deplorable state of menstrual hygiene management in Nigeria.
They opined that efforts need to be made to shed more light on the situation and proffer workable solutions to end period poverty and as well incorporate menstrual hygiene management into the learning curriculum.
Presenting his paper titled: “Menstrual Hygiene Management And The Boy Child”, Dr George Owhoekevwo, of Delta State Youth Parliament, stated that there was a need for more research, policies and implementable work plans on interventions that can best address the unique challenges experienced by women and girls on menstrual hygiene management.
Dr. Owhoekevwo advocated the need for the boy child to be in the know of what menstrual hygiene is all about stating that it could help them guide against stigmatization and wear out myths of old on what mensuration is all about.
Earlier in her opening remarks, The convener of Pad A Girl Foundation, Ms Udoka Anita Ikebuwa, stated that period poverty affects over 500 million women and girls worldwide making up approximately 25% of the world’s menstrual population.
Cross section of Delta State Youths Parliament (DSYP) at the World Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration
She stated that the issue of period poverty is an under recognized public health crisis characterized by inadequate access to sanitary products, privacy for hygiene management or education on menstruation.
Ikebuwa revealed that period poverty affects many menstruating people in all areas of their lives which include their mental health and well being, inability to work, inability to attend school and general reproductive health.
In her good will message, the Majority whip of DSYP, Miss Oghenekome Ajiri-Ugho, stated that the one day symposium serves as a wake up call to the line for MDAs, medical associations, female groups and students representatives to lend their voices to ending period poverty by adopting the 4A’s Approach of Acceptability, Availability, Accessibility and Accountability in advocating for a bill to make Menstrual Products free for every Girl Child”.
The  symposium had a panelist session where the Director of Orientation, State Orientation Bureau, Mrs Stella Macaulay, the Chairperson of FIDA, Delta State branch,  Mrs Stellamarice Mejulu, Ph:D and the Director of Public Health, State Ministry of Health, Dr Philomena Okeowo, enlightened participant on the theme.
Dignitaries present at the event includes the Commissioner for Youth Development Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Ms. Ngozi Mogbolu, the Director of Administration, Ministry of Youth Development, Mrs Christy Enuma, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Flora Atlanta represented by the  permanent secretary in the ministry, Mrs Kevwe Agas, the  Manager, Fidelity Bank Asaba branch, Mrs. Adora Chukwuma, Obi Josephine Nwannabuogwu, the Omu Ibuza.
Others are the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Rose Ezewu, represented by Chief Inspector of Education, Oshimili South Local Government, Mrs. Djoma Emiliana; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Delta State Ministry of Justice, Mr Isaiah Bozimo Esq represented by Mrs Akamagwuna, Director Sexual Offenses
Girl Child

Sanitary items were also donated to the participating students and women.