An NGO WaterAid Nigeria, has NGO, called on governments and stakeholders to provide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools to improve girls’ menstrual hygiene.
The WaterAid, Bauchi State Programme Officer, Miss Wandoo Akasu, made the call in Bauchi.
“WaterAid is calling on governments, relevant stakeholders and philanthropist to support the mobilising of resources to facilitate infrastructure improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools.
“This will provide safe and private spaces for school girls to manage their periods hygienically,’’ Miss Akosu said.
According to her, menstrual hygiene management is a human rights issue that matters to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The SDGs include goals on health, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production patterns,’’ the programm lead said.
Miss Akosu stressed the need for government to put in place curriculum reforms that would ensure continuing education of school girls on how to manage their menstruation safely.
She added that the support got from stakeholders would assist in building the capacity of school teachers and other gatekeepers to provide quality and comprehensive education.
The WaterAid official disclosed that nearly half of schools in low- and middle-income countries like Nigeria do not have basic toilets.
“That makes girls who are menstruating to risk embarrassment and shame during this time, and sadly, some may decide not to attend school,” Miss Akosu said noted.
She explained that safe, private toilets for girls in schools, combined with private places to wash could boost their school enrolment.
“Therefore, proper menstrual hygiene management for women and girls requires inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools and public places.
“It also includes provision of protection materials at affordable rates; behavioural change and communication as well as review of existing policies to address this important issue,’’ the programme lead said.
UNESCO estimates that one in 10 adolescent girls in Africa miss school during their menstruation and eventually drop out.
The estimates also reveal that a lack of guidance, facilities and materials for girls to manage their periods at school affects their health, their education and their self-esteem.
Girls who face shame, fear and confusion around periods have this exacerbated when there is no clean source of water, soap or safe, private girls’ toilet with space to wash in, it noted.